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 ›

Cruel and Unusual Death with Dignity

Belgium is on the verge of executing its first murderer by lethal injection. Well, not exactly “executing.” The state isn’t going to kill convicted murderer/rapist Frank Van Den Bleeken for his crimes. Rather, it is helping him be euthanized. By a doctor. At a hospital. To which he was transferred after a court ruled that Den Bleeken’s request to end Read More ›

Lethal Ageism

A story out of Belgium vividly illustrates how our elderly are becoming personae non gratae in a society increasingly obsessed with avoiding difficulty. Francis and Anne are healthy and happily married octogenarians. Not wanting to live without each other, they plan to die together on their sixty-fourth anniversary. Rather than engaging suicide prevention, their children procured a doctor to euthanize Read More ›

Standing Against the Human “Dignity Deniers”

God may not be dead, but considering the imago Dei in philosophical discourse and public policy certainly is. Not only that, but the rational reasons for acknowledging the exceptional dignity of humans are wrongly denigrated as merely reflecting our religious past in which rigid moralism supposedly trumped reason. Today’s dominant cultural voices argue that an individual’s moral worth should be Read More ›

The Ethics of Food and Drink

Should the law compel nursing homes to starve certain Alzheimer’s patients to death? This is not an alarmist fantasy, but a real question, soon to be forced by advocates of ever-wider application of assisted euthanasia. The intellectual groundwork is already being laid for legislation or court orders requiring nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities to withhold spoon feeding from dementia patients who, though they take food and drink willingly, once requested the withholding of life-prolonging meas-ures in an advance medical directive. 

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Will Doctors be Forced to Kill?

The wailing and gnashing of teeth in some quarters over the modest Hobby Lobby decision has me worried. Apparently, many on the political port side of the country believe that once a favored public policy has been enacted, it immediately becomes a “right” that can never be altered or denied. More, once such a “right” is established for the individual, Read More ›