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.