Bioethics Blogs

“Assisted Suicide: The Musical”

The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition for March 4-5, 2017 carried a “Saturday interview” (subscription required) with one Liz Carr, the creator and, I gather, star of a stage production in London called “Assisted Suicide: The Musical.”  In the article, we read that it received a standing ovation from a full house, but the show’s website shows a one-night-only run.

The 46 year-old Ms. Carr is described as suffering from “a genetic disorder that prevents her from extending her muscles, among other impairments.”  She worries that the assisted suicide movement is benefiting from repeating “the right to die” like a “mantra.”  In the play, she plays a character called “Documentary Liz,” who, accompanied by “manipulative” music, is presented to the public as a pitiful character who really is trapped by life and would be better off dead.

Ms. Carr further comments that assisted suicide advocates hide behind two ideas: dignity—which is understood to depend on health, so that ill or disabled persons somehow lack it unless they end their lives—and self-determination, a term cruelly misused.  “Legalizing euthanasia doesn’t empower you,” she says.  “It empowers doctors.”  Her WSJ interviewer adds: “In the context of the modern welfare state, that means empowering agents of the government.”

She mocks the term used by assisted suicide proponents—“dignicide,” intended to denote death with dignity—as the denial of human dignity.

She argues that assisted suicide is not about autonomy, but about fear of death, something we don’t talk about any more in an irreligious society.  “I say this as an atheist,” she adds.

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.