NRL News

The lethal absurdity of physician-assisted suicide

by | Oct 10, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk

We’ve posted over dozen stories at NRL News Today on “Question 2,” a vitally important Massachusetts ballot initiative that would allow doctors to prescribe (but not administer) a toxic drug to “assist” their patients to commit suicide.

Jennifer Popik, JD, of NRLC’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics has been particularly insightful. She has written a very helpful story for the current issue of National Right to Life News, which on its way to our 360,000+ readers. But there have been many other invaluable contributors.

Tadeusz Pacholczyk is the director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. Fr. Pacholczyk has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Yale and is a priest in the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He has spoken at the National Right to Life Convention and is brilliantly informed on a myriad of life-issues, including physician-assisted suicide.

Fr. Pacholczyk published a must-read op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He accomplishes a task that is, by now, hard to do: help us see this dangerous initiative not only in a creatively new way but also in a larger context.

He makes a key point right out of the box: “If physician-assisted suicide really represents a good choice, we need to ask: Why should only physicians be able to participate? Why should only physicians be allowed to undermine public trust in their profession through these kinds of death-dealing activities?”

Why not police—they could arrive with a suitable firearm, load it, and leave it on the drawer—police-assisted suicide.

Who else? “The assisted-suicide paradigm readily admits of other creative approaches as well—we could sanction, for example, assisted drownings, with lifeguards asked to help those wishing to die by providing millstones to take them to the bottom of lakes and oceans.”

As a society we work tirelessly to prevent suicides. We understand them to be tragedies and almost always the reflection of clinical depression. “This sound and consistent cultural message is flatly contradicted when we allow physicians to prescribe lethal drugs so people can kill themselves,”   Fr. Pacholczyk writes.

“It is like replacing the suicide-intervention signs on bridges with signs that state: ‘Ask your physician if jumping is right for you.’”

There is so much more that is so worthwhile reading I will stop here. Please take five minutes out of your busy schedule to read “Please Step Back from the Assisted-Suicide Ledge

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Categories: Assisted Suicide