What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Prolife issues--Assisted suicide in nursing homes in Switzerland

Via Wesley J. Smith comes word of a new front being opened in the culture of death: In Switzerland, pro-death groups (literally, pro-death) seek to force nursing homes to allow them access to patients to assist them in committing suicide.

Apparently some doctors in Switzerland retain professionalism, and the suicide group Exit says there have sometimes been "showdowns" with doctors when they have shown up to help patients kill themselves on the premises. Since in Switzerland it has been declared a legal right to kill yourself (even if you are mentally ill), Exit claims that nursing home directors and doctors must be forced to allow them to "help" patients die.

The farthest that opponents are able to go in this issue is to argue that suicide should be a person's "choice" but that the nursing home should also have the choice not to allow it on its premises. Perhaps, it is suggested tentatively, the nursing homes should inform people when they check-in that they won't be allowed to commit suicide on-site. Full information, and all that.

To date, it appears (from what I can gather) as though all the nursing home patients involved have been mentally competent and actually wishing to commit suicide. Not, of course, that that makes it right or allowable, and not that that makes it anything other than horrifying to think that nursing homes and doctors might be forced to permit it on their watch.

But I predict a further development. In Holland already, although it is still technically illegal, people who are not in any way requesting suicide are sometimes actively terminated by doctors. At most this results in a suspended sentence for the doctors. I can easily imagine a situation where a person is allowed to leave instructions that he should be "assisted" to commit suicide by lethal injection (even as now people leave instructions that they should be dehydrated to death) under such-and-such circumstances. Then, if the Swiss proposal succeeds and spreads elsewhere, nursing homes and hospitals whose own doctors refuse to kill their patients could be forced to admit "assisters," traveling killers, who would come in to perform a so-called "assisted suicide" on a person who was not even conscious and was not even seeking suicide at that time. This particular twist is conjecture, though the Dutch termination without consent is not conjecture but reality.

All of this news concerns Europe. But as Smith points out, an assisted suicide proposal in California which was defeated would have required all medical facilities (such as nursing homes, hospices, and rehab centers) except acute care hospitals to permit assisted suicide on their premises, without even a religious exemption for Catholic and other religious homes. Thank goodness it was defeated, but there will doubtless be other tries.

Conservatives have said this ad infinitum, but every day there is a new illustration of this point: When supposedly "private" things like suicide are given legal recognition, the whole cultural landscape changes. Such things are not merely private, and those who object must conform or be crushed.

Comments (4)

Kyrie eleison.

No opportunities for coercian there!

I mean we can be assured that the Swiss will never encourage their most needy patients to consider this option, right?

Yea, I don't buy it either.

Absolutely. The only question is how subtle or crude the pressure will be. Once assisted suicide is legal in a society, some form of coercion is pretty much inevitable. In Oregon, it is already happening that people who are on public assistance and receive health care through the state are receiving letters telling them that some form of chemotherapy for their cancer won't be covered but that suicide is covered. Nor is the state just making this up. It's a factual statement. There were already standards in place as to whether and when chemo would be covered (e.g., expected lifespan if one is on that medication), and in these cases, the chemo the doctors are recommending doesn't happen to meet those standards. What's shocking is that, now that assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, there is no problem with getting _that_ covered by state assistance, and the people who write the letters for the state are simply trying to list all the person's covered options! It's like a machine. You introduce suicide into the machine, and certain things follow, even with no special ill-will on the part of the factotum who explains things to you.

Mercy as understood and practiced by post-Christian man;

"The “assisted suicide” of a young rugby player who was left paralysed last year when a scrum collapsed is being investigated by police.

Dan James, who once played for England Under-16s, died last month after travelling to a Swiss euthanasia clinic with his parents, Mark and Julie.

The 23-year-old looked destined for a professional playing career before he was left paralysed from the the chest down after his spine was dislocated while training with Nuneaton Rugby Club in March 2007."

Post a comment

Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.