Euthanizing Children

The death of a terminally ill seventeen-year-old boy made headlines recently, as Belgium’s first case of child euthanasia. I don’t understand the sudden fuss. The Netherlands has long allowed minors to request and receive euthanasia: Dutch children down to age sixteen can receive euthanasia without their parents’ consent, and children can be killed by doctors with parental consent starting at age twelve. Read More ›

“Death Control” and the Bioethics Peril

Thousands of medical ethicists and bioethicists, as they are called, professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on its way to becoming the justifiable until it is finally established as the unexceptionable. —Richard John Neuhaus If you want to see what is likely to go awry in medical ethics and public healthcare policy, pay attention to the Read More ›

Three Emerging Fields That Threaten Human Equality

Human exceptionalism—the unique and equal dignity of man and our obligations to act morally—and its corollaries such as universal human rights has been integral to Western progress. Over the past few hundred years, the ideals of Judeo-Christian moral philosophy and the Enlightenment worked together to create a civilization that, to an ever-increasing degree, sought to effectuate Jefferson’s epochal assertion that Read More ›

Canada Swallows the Hemlock

Over the past four decades, the Western World has been debating legalizing euthanasia. Despite the efforts of its proponents, over many years, almost all efforts at legalization failed politically and in the courts. In the most notable of these failures, in 1997, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to enact an assisted suicide Roe v. Wade, ruling unanimously Read More ›

Lifting the Ban on Human/Animal Embryos Could Undermine Human Exceptionalism

If being human is not what conveys moral worth, then what does? The answer to this question varies. But, as we shall see, the increased embrace of human unexceptionalism cuts across a wide array of ideologies. Let’s first look at secular bioethics, the philosophy of health care and public policy taught in our most elite universities. The predominating view in bioethics Read More ›

Religious and Pro-Life Conscience Unwelcome in Healthcare

Healthcare is quickly becoming about much more than the provision and reception of medical treatment. To a disturbing degree, healthcare public policy is becoming a means of imposing a secularist, anti–sanctity-of-life ideology on all of society. Consider the following examples of this accelerating trend: Erasing pharmacists’ conscience rights in Washington: In 2007, Washington state’s Board of Pharmacy—at the prompting of Read More ›

Interview: Dissecting the Age of “Do Harm” Medicine

Wesley J. Smith is one of America’s leading commentators on bioethical issues, especially assisted suicide and euthanasia. His columns are published in the National Review and he is the author of 14 books. BioEdge interviewed him about his latest, Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine. ***** BioEdge: This is a thoroughly revised edition of a book you published 16 years ago. Read More ›

Euphemisms for Killing

Words matter. The terminology we employ not only reflects our values but helps to define them. Language is particularly important in bioethical debates, in which dehumanizing verbiage can distance us from our fellow human beings. When embryonic stem-cell research was in the news, we were told constantly by scientists and the media that an early embryo was “just a ball Read More ›

Declare Total Non-Cooperation with Assisted Suicide

I recently gave a speech to a group of conservative senior citizens in California, arguing against assisted suicide, which is due to become legal there in June. Assisted suicide is not an issue that allows for fence-sitting, so although I expected (and received) a friendly reception for the most part, I knew that at least a few people would use Read More ›

Euthanasia by Organ Harvesting

Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder. —Leon Kass The ethics of medicine aren’t what they used to be. Sanctity of life? That’s so passé. The Hippocratic Oath? Fuggettaboudit! The modern healthcare system is expected to embrace properly utilitarian perspectives. Take euthanasia as just one example. Once society accepts that sick patients can be relieved of their suffering by being killed, Read More ›