Monday, November 18, 2019

Review of the book by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

John Dale Dunn wrote a consice review, for the American Thinker, of the book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a book that was published in 2006.

Dunn argues that people who oppose or support assisted suicide should read this book. He states:
Gorsuch's analysis is a thoughtful and stimulating contribution to the debate about one of the most controversial public policy issues of our day.
Dunn continues:
There is no doubt that Gorsuch provides the most thorough and compelling condemnation of assisted suicide and euthanasia yet. He certainly puts a hole in the side of the ship of the cult of death. His book provides a thorough overview of the ethical and legal issues raised by assisted suicide and euthanasia and a comprehensive argument against the legalization of these heinous acts.

Judge Gorsuch evaluates the ethical arguments for euthanasia and assisted suicide, lays out the evidence on how these projects result in a casual dismissal of the meaning of life in places where the new approach has been adopted like the Netherlands and Oregon, and makes a strong case for the malfeasance and immoral conduct these enabling laws create.
Gorsuch examined the issues from a social and historical basis. Dunn writes:
Judge Gorsuch assesses the ethical and moral arguments of the advocates of a liberated approach to killing the useless eaters and the disabled when contrasted with the principle that intentional killing is always wrong.

Judge Gorsuch is leery of killing depressed and hopeless individuals for the obvious reason: their depressed state is a pathological state in itself, deserving of treatment, not enablement. Judge Gorsuch builds a robust argument against legalization when he confronts the ethical arguments for assisted suicide and euthanasia. He explores evidence and case histories from the Netherlands and Oregon, where the practices have been legalized. He analyzes libertarian and autonomy-based arguments for legalization as well as the impact of key U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the debate. And he examines the history and evolution of laws and attitudes regarding assisted suicide and euthanasia in American society.
Dunn examines the commentary by Gorsuch on Dr Leo Alexander's essay on the Nazi euthanasia program that was published in 1949. Alexander was an expert at the Nurembourg trial. Dunn states:
I would add to Judge Gorusch's presentation the essay by Dr. Leo Alexander that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1949, an analysis of the reasons why the Nazi physicians were able to kill and maim individuals considered inferior or not deserving of consideration as human — for political, social, or ideological reasons. Dr. Alexander, an American neurologist/psychiatrist, a Jew, educated in Vienna, investigator for the Nuremberg Tribunal that had Nazi physicians on trial for war crimes, asserts that the moral limits are violated when individuals and the society at large accept the idea that there are sub-humans who are expendable, unacceptable, inferior, or a burden or disabled so they cannot contribute. If the status of those individuals is considered less than human, the easy step is to treat them as subhuman, candidates for abuse and extermination by the will of the state and its officials.

There is an ominous taint to the idea that the law and the government will enable killing people because they are sick or depressed, or disabled, or just old and willing to end it.
Gorsuch provides a legal and social analysis concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide and concludes his book by condemning these practises. John Dale Dunn is right to say that both opponents and supporters of assisted suicide need to read - The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

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