Pushing Suicide for Suffering

Those of us who have never experienced severe physical disability have no clue about the depth of suffering it can cause. But NPR’s megastar talk show host Dianne Rehm does, up close and personal. Her husband John had severe and progressive Parkinson’s disease, leading him to suicidal despair. John asked his doctor for assisted suicide. Told that was not possible, Read More ›

Death Be Not Proud

One of the last things my friend Frances did on Nov. 1, 1992, was to send identical suicide letters to each of her friends: “Today is my 76th birthday,” it began. “Of my own free will, I have chosen to take my final passage.” Why would she do such a thing? Frances was not terminally ill and had years of Read More ›

Starvation as the New “Death With Dignity”

Self-starvation has become the latest craze among the “death with dignity” crowd. This has been coming on for some time. Removing feeding tubes from cognitively disabled people who can’t swallow has been allowed for decades, under the right to refuse unwanted “medical treatment.” But what about people who can eat and drink by mouth? Assisted suicide advocates argue that it isn’t fair that they can’t die too.

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What Happened to Switzerland?

In 2008, bioethicist Yuval Levin in his book Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy identified a subtle but momentous shift in the philosophical driver of the West:  The worldview of modern science . . . sees health not only as a foundation but also a principal goal, not only as a beginning but also an end. Relief and preservation—from disease and Read More ›

The Next Logical Step

Like most people, I was shocked by the macabre story that broke in the United Kingdom this week. It seems that “at least 15,500” aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated to heat several hospitals over the last few years. Not cremated and respectfully interred, mind you: Incinerated as fuel to run the boilers. Shocked yes, but not surprised. The law only reflects Read More ›

Get Ready for a Busy 2014 in Bioethics

My taskmasters at the CBC never allow me to rest on my laurels. Fresh off several years of stellar prognosticating, I am now forced to answer the question: “But what have you predicted, lately?” Okay, let’s take a look. Oh! Oh my. Please remember, the following predictions are what I see happening. They do not reflect what I want to happen. Affordable Care Act, Read More ›

Preventing (Some) Suicides

Since Jack Kevorkian first made headlines in 1990, the media have touted assisted suicide by the dying and severely disabled in positive, sometimes even glowing, terms. Actually, “touted” may be too weak a word. For two decades, the media have repeatedly presented emotional narratives of very ill or disabled people who “just want to die,” along with sympathetic depictions of Read More ›

My Predictions in Bioethics Right Again!

Can you believe a year has come and gone since I last told you what would happen, before it happened, in bioethics? Maybe it’s my increasing age, but time is passing too fast! So, how did I do? Not as well as in years past, but still an A-. Let’s take a look: The Affordable Care Act The Affordable Care Act, Read More ›

The Suicide Juggernaut

Advocates of assisted suicide tell two—no, three—lies that act as the honey to help the hemlock go down. The first is that assisted suicide/euthanasia is a strictly medical act. Second, they falsely assure us that medicalized killing is only for the terminally ill. Finally, they promise that strict guidelines will be rigorously enforced to protect against abuse. Recent legislative proposals Read More ›