Sunday, October 12, 2008

If Montana Anti-Assisted Suicide Law is Unconstitutional, What Difference Does Terminal Illness Make?

This is a reprint of Wesley Smith's blog commentary on the Montana Court case:

This is all so phony: Compassion and Choices (formerly Hemlock Society) has filed a suit to declare Montana's law prohibiting assisted suicide to be unconstitutional as against Montana's right to privacy. The suit seeks to declare that a terminally ill person has a right to assistance with suicide as a liberty interest, a matter argued in court recently. From the story:

The plaintiffs argue that mentally competent, terminally ill Montanans facing a dying process they find intolerable should be allowed to take prescribed medication to help them die peacefully.

"A mentally competent, terminally ill Montanan should have the right to choose a peaceful death, when confronted by death," said Kathryn Tucker, Compassion and Choices director of legal affairs.
But dying isn't dead, it is an aspect of living, just as there are other aspects of living--unbearable grief, serious disability, chronic illness, loneliness, morbidity in old age, etc.--that people may find intolerable. Thus, if the court rules that an intolerable aspect of living gives rise to a right to facilitated suicide, I don't understand how that liberty can be limited logically to just people who are terminally ill. Indeed, if there is a fundamental right to lethal prescriptions as medical treatment with which the state cannot interfere, how in the world can the state prevent other suffering people from exercising the same right--particularly since non terminal suffering is often far more extended in duration and in the amount of pain caused? This is why Switzerland declared a constitutional right to assisted suicide for the mentally ill: Once the initial premise is accepted, there is no logical way of preventing the entire steak from being consumed.

So we can see that the dying patient is just the point person, the category of suffering persons that many will be willing to accept for the right to suicide, when in reality, these patients are being used to front the broader agenda that can, in time, only lead to a right to be made dead for anyone with a sustained desire to die.

My, we have become a death obsessed culture. The nihilism is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

Hopefully the court will understand that it is a proper purpose of the state to protect everyone from self destruction, not just some people. However it turns out, you will hear about it here.

Link to Wesley Smith's incredible blog comment on the attempt by Compassion and Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) to strike down Montana's law prohibiting assisted suicide:
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2008/10/if-montana-anti-assisted-suicide-law-is.html

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