Bioethics Blogs

A “Conservative” Wearing Blinders about PAS

George Will’s column condemning the Planned Parenthood barbarism was salutary.

His column defending physician-assisted suicide is execrable.

In the latter, he is blithely sanguine about slippery slopes (we can’t avoid them, he says), suggests that Medicare cost savings is a reason to support a “right-to die,” seems to embrace the notion that we shouldn’t hesitate helping depressed people end their lives, claims (contra Ezekiel Emanuel) that medical technology is why we are now so interested in PAS and euthanasia, and betrays no sensitivity to the question of whether doctors are called to care or to kill.  He allows some reasons for “wariness,” including the notion that a “right to die” might morph into a “duty to die”—a critical concern—but neglects to mention that somebody’s “right to die” entails somebody else’s “duty to kill.”

Scarier still are the comments on the Washington Post web site (follow the link above), which include diatribes against all those “sadistic” doctors who won’t act to put a person out of her misery.

“Sadistic,” eh?

Read ‘em and weep.

One robust response comes from the reliable Wesley Smith, who has also pointed out a stunningly broadly-worded proposal in Colorado to render immune from prosecution “any person or group,” not just medical professionals, who would assist “Sovereign” individuals in exercising the “liberty to pursue happiness” by making the “personal medical decision” to “set the time and tone of their own deaths, asking permission of no person or organization.”  Such “exercise” of such a “right” would not be “limited to the maintenance of mental competency only, but can be durable into incompetency if desired and documented.”  

And elsewhere, Smith flags a new requirement, first in Quebec and soon in all of Canada, that physicians must provide PAS when requested.  No conscientious objectors allowed.  Oh, Canada!!

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.