NRL News

Stretching the truth about assisted suicide

by | Mar 23, 2017

By Wesley J. Smith

Editor’s note. The following letter to the editor was written by Wesley in response to a post by a pro-euthanasia activist who mischaracterized Wesley’s position. This appeared in the San Diego Tribune.

As an anti-euthanasia activist since 1993, I am used to opponents stretching the truth. True to form, Barbara Coombs Lee, the head of Compassion & Choices (formerly, the Hemlock Society) claimed I advocate making assisted suicide “a federal crime” to “invalidate” state laws legalizing prescribed-death. (“Head off federal threat to medical aid in dying laws,” March 16).

No, I don’t. I support prohibiting federally controlled substances from being prescribed for assisted suicide, a different approach altogether that would not invalidate any state law. Indeed, such a policy would be consistent with the federal government’s primary role in regulating opioids — which were developed to ease pain or aid sleep, not cause death.

Coombs Lee opposed confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court because he wrote a book opposing euthanasia. [Coombs Lee forgot] to inform readers that the high court ruled 9-0 in 1997 that assisted suicide isn’t a constitutional right. She conjures much darkness from Gorsuch writing 10 years ago that the assisted suicide debate “is not yet over — and may have only begun.” But by her very advocacy, doesn’t she demonstrate that Gorsuch was absolutely correct?

More urgently, Coombs-Lee claimed there have been no abuses. Yet, a new California regulation grants terminally ill, involuntarily confined, mentally ill patients the right to seek court release from their hospital to commit assisted suicide. If refused, the regulation requires the state to facilitate the death.

Think about this. California specifically requires government cooperation with the suicides of people adjudicated to be so mentally ill, they are confined involuntarily for treatment.

Wow. The so-called “death with dignity” movement is driving us out of our collective minds.

Categories: Assisted Suicide