Dangerous Apathy

The country has been roiled in recent weeks by videos showing two Planned Parenthood executives chirpily telling pro-life undercover investigators that fetal organs could be had for a price. The executives—both themselves abortionists—explained that their techniques could be adapted to “crush” fetuses in a “less crunchy” manner so as to better insure harvests suitable for research. There have, of course, Read More ›

Euthanasia’s Open Season on the Mentally Ill

Afew years ago, I spoke about end-of-life care at a town-hall event; it quickly devolved into an intense debate on assisted suicide. When the time came for audience questions, a self-described “mentally ill” woman took the microphone and declared that she had a right to doctor-prescribed death. More than half the audience burst into applause. Helping the mentally ill commit Read More ›

Euthanasia’s Cancerous Corruption of Medical Morality

During World War II, German doctors euthanized disabled babies and adults. As Robert Jay Lifton reported in The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, no one forced these doctors to kill. Many of them believed euthanasia to be a “healing treatment” that ended “unlivable” lives, liberated families from the burden of caregiving, and kept the country from Read More ›

Family-Supported Suicide and the Duty to Die

In 1991, my friend Frances invited me to a “going away party.” She wasn’t moving or going on vacation. Frances wanted her closest friends to come to her home, to tell her how much she meant to us, and to hold her hand as she committed suicide. We refused. Validating Frances’s suicide was unthinkable. We supported her life, not her Read More ›

Reaper at Bay

Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End is an eminently useful book. Contrary to the implication of his title, Gawande’s subject isn’t death—the dying aren’t dead, after all, they are living. Rather, his purpose is to help readers navigate the treacherous shoals of medical and caregiving choices that we or loved ones face as we grow Read More ›

Euthanasia Comes to Canada

This month, the Canadian Supreme Court trampled democratic deliberation by unanimously conjuring a constitutional right to “termination of life” for anyone who has an “irremediable medical condition” and wants to die. Note the scope of the judicial fiat is not limited to the terminally ill: The ruling grants competent adults a right to die if they have an “illness, disease, Read More ›

The Coming of Medical Martyrdom

Doctors don’t take the Hippocratic Oath anymore, and haven’t for several decades. The oath’s ethical proscriptions against participating in abortion and assisted suicide cut against the contemporary moral grain, leading medical schools to dumb it down or dispose of it altogether in order to comport with modern sensibilities. Still, despite abortion’s ubiquitous legality and the accelerating push to normalize assisted Read More ›

The Historical Kevorkian

I am often asked for interviews by students who are writing papers about the assisted suicide issue. I am always happy to oblige. Most ask why I oppose assisted suicide and whether I think guidelines can prevent the slippery slope. But, the other day, I was contacted by a high-schooler writing a paper about something I had never considered: the Read More ›

Kevorkian’s Vision

Assisted suicide exploded into the news again two months ago after Brittany Maynard, dying of brain cancer, announced she would take a lethal prescription as permitted under Oregon law. Maynard became an international celebrity, lauded as “courageous” in a cover story in People and featured in the world’s top media outlets. The last time the media swarmed so feverishly in Read More ›

Death With Aesthetics

We don’t speak plainly in public discourse anymore. Rather, we equivocate and deploy euphemisms to sanitize our debates. Take the passing of Brittany Maynard by her own hand, which the media has repeatedly characterized as an act of “dignity.” To be sure, Maynard died with human dignity—but not because she committed suicide. Human dignity is intrinsic. Indeed, to accept the premise of Read More ›