Bioethics Blogs

More about Doctor-Assisted Suicide—in California and Elsewhere

The Californian proponents of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have repackaged their proposed law into AB 15, hoping to enact it in a special legislative session, dealing with health care costs, in which they can bypass the pesky consciences and principles of state Assembly members on the Health Committee, several of whom are Southern California Latino Democrats.  One way or another, they must silence those “dogmatic” opponents of PAS.

Wesley Smith points out that death is cheaper than life, and that PAS does not lead to death from terminal illness, but to death from drug overdose.

They will do their best to ram this through.  I will appeal to the Governor—who used to work with Mother Theresa—to veto it.

Dr. William Toffler, an Oregon physician, writes in the Wall Street Journal that PAS will be a “disaster for medicine.”  He counters the “what’s the big deal?” attitude of some other Oregonian doctors.  Patients are trying to smell out the “death doctors” and avoid them, he says.  He reminds us that life expectancy is stubbornly difficult to predict in individual cases.  Oregonians considering PAS are not being referred for the psychologic evaluations required by law, he writes.  Depressed and anxious patients are seeking PAS, so the law “may not adequately protect all mentally ill patients.”  The state Health Plan preferentially covers PAS, which is done under a “shroud of secrecy.”  (The death certificate does not indicate PAS.)  He reassures his patients he will care for them faithfully, and “support them through their illness, not offer them a quick exit.”  And he angrily rejects the characterization of killing oneself with sleeping pills as “dignified,” “as if natural deaths aren’t.”

Read the whole thing.  And remember Margaret Mead.

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.