Bioethics Blogs

Some Responses Regarding PAS

I’ve posted several times on physician-assisted suicide (PAS) over the last 3+ years, including this past January 15, January 22, January 29, February 5, February 12, and March 27.

Whew!  I hadn’t realized until I created that list how focused I’d been on the topic this year.  Of course, my thoughts are neither new nor my interest unique; others on this blog, for starters, have also been weighing in.  I also am reminded that on a blog like this, I am just an opinionated blogger—nobody “died and made me king,” as the saying goes. 

Still, some of the comments to my 2015 posts, and other writing on this blog recently, deserve, I believe, a bit of a summary response rather than just the back-and-forth-of the comments sections.

I will try to be succinct, then maybe move on to other bioethics topics for the next few weeks at least.

To begin with, Sarah Sawicki’s March 28 post asked, “What do you think are the best ways to approach [PAS] with sensitivity and grace while upholding the importance of the imago-dei in all humans?”   I would  venture the following points:

  1. Regarding the individual testimonial from a suffering, dying fellow human, like the late Brittany Maynard, other testimonials from similarly-suffering people, like Kara Tippetts, are perhaps best positioned.  (The current issue of World magazine reports that Ms. Tippetts is nearing death.)
  2. Medical professionals, most notably palliative care specialists, oncologists, and others who often care for dying patients, should focus on improving care at the end of life.  Physicians with Medscape access might be interested in an offering from March 24, “The Last Hours of Living: Practical Advice for Clinicians.”
  3. As I am starting to age, I find myself thinking more about preparing for death.  Christians should encourage each other to prepare for that better country, better inheritance, better resurrection offered in Christ.  In ministering to those not yet in Christ, we maintain faithful proclamation of the gospel, preferably before our friends are approaching the death bed.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.