Thinking Citizen Blog — Assisted Suicide — What Should the Law Be? Why? Do You Know What’s Happening in Canada?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care, and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic: Assisted Suicide — What Should the Law Be? Why? Do You Know What’s Happening in Canada?

One thing is the ethics of it. Another is legality. Which interests you more? Why? Today, excerpts from an article by Boston Globe columnist, Jeff Jacoby, who in general takes a libertarian view on most topics. Not on this one. My instincts were all in favor of “assisted suicide” before reading the article. When in doubt, what does freedom say? Now I’m not so sure. Which to you of the many arguments pro and con are the weightiest? Why? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

“IN CANADA “THE RIGHT TO DIE” NOW TAKES MORE THAN 10,000 LIVES PER YEAR” (in map below, blue is legal, gray illegal, light blue by court order not legislation or regulation)

1. “Assisted suicide is illegal in 40 states, Massachusetts among them. In 2012, Bay State voters rejected a “death with dignity” ballot measure that would have authorized doctors to supply lethal drugs for the terminally ill.”

2. “In the decade since, bills to reverse the voters’ decisions have been introduced in the Legislature without success.”

3. “Last month, the Supreme Judicial Court upheld the state’s ban.”

NB: “Under the state constitution, the justices ruled, a terminal patient may elect to stop eating or drinking, may agree to the withdrawal of life support, or ay choose to pursue palliate sedation, but none is entitled to physician assisted suicide.”

SUICIDE IS A STRONG TEMPTATION TO MANY FACING DIFFICULT SITUATIONS, THE STATE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT EASIER (map below, red illegal, dark blue legal, light blue legal by court order not legislation or regulation)

1.“Suicide is among the top nine causes of death for Americans between the ages of 10 and 64.”

2.“There were 47,646 deaths by suicide in 2021 — an average of one every 11 minutes.”

3. “At a time when so many Americans out of desperation, trauma, depression, or isolation are already taking their own lives, no state should be contemplating legislation to make death even easier.”

IN CANADA THE GUARDRAILS HAVE GRADUALLY DISAPPEARED AND WOULD HERE TOO (below 2012 death with dignity voting results for Massachusetts)

1.“When Canada first enacted its “Medical Assistance in Dying” (or MAID) program in 2016, it carefully limited eligibility to adult patients of sound mind who were dying of an incurable condition, it built in a waiting period, it specified that only physicians could approve a patient’s application to die, and it required that information about nonlethal relief be provided.”

2. “Today those guardrails are gone. “Assisted death” is now available to Canadians who are not terminally ill, who have not been held to a waiting period, and who may not even have consulted a physician (a nurse practitionaer is sufficient.) Beginning in March, mental illness alone will qualify as a sufficient reason to request death. The government is considering whether the right to assistance in dying should be available to “mature minors.”

3. “The more the practice has been normalized, the more patients are being pressured, coaxed, or invited to avail themselves of it. There have been numerous accounts in recent months of individuals being offered death in response to non-life-threatening disabilities. In one case, a retired Army corporal testified that a government caseworker turned down her requests for a wheelchair lift to be installed in her home but offered assistance in dying as an alternative. In another, an Ontario man with a degenerative brain disorder recorded conversations in which hospital staffers asked if he “had an in assisted dying” and pointed out that his hospital stay was costing “north of $1500 a day.”

NB: “To legalize assisted suicide is to endorse the view that an early death is a reasonable solution to life’s most painful problems. It’s only a small step from the idea that some people should have the right to be helped into the grave to the conviction that some people ought to be helped into the grave. Medical assistance in dying now accounts for more than 3 per cent of deaths in Canada. Don’t do it Massachusetts.”

Assisted suicide’s slippery slope — The Boston Globe

https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/08/29/the-slippery-slope-of-assisted-dying-is-real

The case for and against assisted dying

Slippery Slope Or Wise Demise? The Pros And Cons Of Medically Assisted Dying

https://euthanasia.procon.org/top-10-pro-con-arguments/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_suicide

Assisted suicide in the United States — Wikipedia

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Whenever you are wrong, admit it. Whenever you are right, shut up.” - Ogden Nash

ATTACHMENTS BELOW:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20

LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.

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Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.