February 1, 2017

"Neil Gorsuch wrote the book on assisted suicide. Here’s what he said."

Writes Derek Hawkins in The Washington Post.
In 2006, the year he was nominated to the federal bench, he released a heavily-researched book on the subject titled “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.”... In it, Gorsuch reveals that he firmly opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia, and argues against death with dignity laws, which currently exist in just five states. His reasons, he writes, are rooted in his belief in an “inviolability” of human life.

“All human beings are intrinsically valuable,” he writes in the book, “and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
You see the connection to arguments for abortion rights. I'm interested to see at how Gorsuch opponents avoid getting tangled up in... death.
[I]n the early 2000s... Gorsuch attended Oxford University [and] studied legal and moral issues related to assisted suicide and euthanasia under the Australian legal scholar John Finnis, a staunch opponent of aid-in-dying measures....
[In his 300-page book, Gorsuch] touches on everything from Greek and Roman laws on taking one’s own life to present-day arguments in support of aid-in-dying legislation.... [He] seems to have been alarmed by the sudden proliferation in the mid-1990s and early-2000s of proposals seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia. He also cites the flurry of articles, books and defenses that emerged after the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian made headlines in 1990 for helping an Alzheimer’s patient kill herself. One particular work that seemed to bother him was Final Exit, a popular book by the right-to-die organization the Hemlock Society that describes various methods of “self-deliverance,” including suicide by plastic bag and firearm.

Some of Gorsuch’s sharpest criticisms were directed at one of his fellow jurists, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Posner has written in favor of permitting physician-assisted suicide, arguing that the government should not interfere with a person’s decision to take his or her own life, especially in cases where the patient is terminally ill.

Gorsuch rejected that view, writing it would “tend toward, if not require, the legalization not only of assisted suicide and euthanasia, but of any act of consensual homicide.” Posner’s position, he writes, would allow “sadomasochist killings” and “mass suicide pacts,” as well as duels, illicit drug use, organ sales and the “sale of one’s own life.”

Gorsuch concludes his book by envisioning a legal system that allows for terminally ill patients to refuse treatments that would extend their lives, while stopping short of permitting intentional killing.
So, Gorsuch is distinctly not a libertarian. I'm putting the book in my Kindle, because I want to look more closely how he connects abortion to suicide. I've taught the abortion and assisted suicide cases for many years, and what's always seemed importantly different about assisted suicide is the problem that a few years back got labeled "death panels." It's one thing for an individual woman to decide to decline to devote her own body to the gestation of a new individual and for courts to deprive the group of the power to force her to do it. It's quite another to empower the group to deliver death to an individual who is suffering at the end of life when the group is in a position to benefit emotionally and financially from ridding itself of this needy and vulnerable person. 

AND: I do realize that I have a lot of readers who are about to tell me that it's not quite another thing, it's the same thing. I do understand the way in which the 2 things are the same. I am highlighting the way they are different.

140 comments:

roesch/voltaire said...

The Oregon law requirement of consent from the individual and Doctor in terminal cases have not let to mass suicide pacts, but death with dignity and can hardly be described as a group delivering death. I am not a legal scholar, but I do regret that the litmus test has not been put to rest.

traditionalguy said...

Legal Ethicists are a new Government sponsored, credentialed Career Path that works hard at normalizing by New Speak the murder of the old folks by making it sound like doing your duty. The aim is to produce a cadre of workers sent out into the medical arena who try to make the old folks feel guilty for living too long.

rhhardin said...

All human beings are intrinsically valuable

That's the infinite value feeling. But infinite doesn't mean big. It means without boundary.

What's being said is that you can't calculate it, not because it's big, but because it's a mistake to calculate at all.

He's running that insight into thinking it's therefore big, which becomes a dogma, religious or not.

David Begley said...

If Gorsuch doesn't like Posner, then I like Gorsuch.

Hillary would have appointed Posner or a Posner clone.

Clark said...

Interesting point. The starkest contrast seems to relate to the likelihood of the soundness of mind when making the decision and the prevailing pressures that may lead to a decision in either scenario. So many things compromise rational decision making in an end of life situation. Pregnancy is certainly not without its pressures, but it probably lacks the same ability to allow others to advise as to the selflessness and inevitability of the decision's outcome. I do, however, think there is a large profit motive in both euthanasia and abortion advocacy from the darker corners of each.

PB said...

The thing about "physician-assisted" suicide and euthanasia is that it often evolves from a patient-choice to a physician prescription and finally to a state prescription.

When it comes to abortion, the big question is what is life and when does human life get rights. I know of no clearly defined transition other than conception.

Boxty said...

If the intentional taking of life is always wrong then is he against capital punishment? Lethal self defense??

traditionalguy said...

The difference from abortion is that the elderly speak can for themselves. The Living Will or Advanced Directive is now accepted as the unconscious living pre-speaking for themselves. But it is an assent, not an order.

But as Reagan observed, the proponents of free abortion choice all come from those who are already born.

Paul Zrimsek said...

A lot of these people are very much against suicide when it's assisted by a firearm.

Kate said...

I am NOT about to tell you it's "not quite another thing". You're right, and conservatives who try to conflate the two will lose the argument against assisted suicide. Of course the Dems would want the link between abortion/euthanasia established because they can pony on the back of "women's rights" to try to marginalize Gorsuch.

AllenS said...

Assisted suicide is usually performed on the elderly, who are not worth much dead or alive because of their condition. The difference between assisted suicide and abortion is huge (yuge). With abortion you can still chop up the fetus and sell the parts. Profit!

Matthew Sablan said...

"Gorsuch concludes his book by envisioning a legal system that allows for terminally ill patients to refuse treatments that would extend their lives, while stopping short of permitting intentional killing."

-- I kind of see that as a distinction without a difference and, mattering on what the illness is, an unnecessary cruelty. If someone has a terminal disease but, mentally, is completely sound of mind -- as much as I find it distasteful -- I don't see how guaranteeing one the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn't extend to letting them choose to die. Figuring out exactly HOW to allow that decision in the framework of asking someone for help is going to be legally tricky, but I feel like the government should not be able to say: "No, Bob. You MUST suffer."

Kevin said...

"benefit emotionally and financially from ridding itself of this needy and vulnerable person."

Again, sounds like abortion.

James Pawlak said...

What is his exact opinion as to the meaning of the "shall not be infringed" clause of the Second Amendment---In light of the views of the Founders of this Republic?

Michael K said...

The thing about "physician-assisted" suicide and euthanasia is that it often evolves from a patient-choice to a physician prescription and finally to a state prescription.

"Physician assisted suicide" is a slippery slope. I'm fine with it when done ethically and privately but, in Holland, an ER physician who admits an emphysema patient to ICU with respiratory failure, loses his/her job. The treatment of an emphysema patient with respiratory insufficiency from pneumonia or some other treatable cause is a lethal injection of morphine. This has been the case for at least 25 years, It was the case when I was still in practice. No consent. No information. Just given.

AReasonableMan said...

I am going to agree with everyone who wants to argue that Althouse cannot so blithely separate abortion and assisted suicide, given that the primarily rationale against both is religiously based.

Larry J said...

Matthew Sablan said...
"Gorsuch concludes his book by envisioning a legal system that allows for terminally ill patients to refuse treatments that would extend their lives, while stopping short of permitting intentional killing."

-- I kind of see that as a distinction without a difference and, mattering on what the illness is, an unnecessary cruelty.


I think there is a very real difference. A few years ago, an elderly (84) friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. He made the rational decision to forgo cancer treatments that might have prolonged his life a bit but would've caused a lot of suffering. That was his choice, made freely, and based on the experience he'd seen of friends and family members who had battled cancer.

The question of allowing doctors to assist in suicide is terribly complex. If someone were suffering terribly, it could be considered an act of mercy to let them choose to end their life as painlessly as possible. We treat our pets better than we sometimes treat each other. The slippery slope of assisted suicide is that people may be coerced into ending their lives because they've become an expensive burden on their families and/or society. That's where assisted suicide can easily degenerate into euthanasia.

MaxedOutMama said...

The problem with your distinction re abortion/euthanasia was evident back when Sarah Palin was a VP candidate. In Canada, especially, there was an explicit statement from public health authorities that designated her decision not to abort her Downs Syndrome child as adverse to the public interest.

In a society that doesn't socialize medical/welfare costs, the decision to abort an expensive child may be individual (and probably will be based on costs for many non-wealthy families). But in a society that does have socialized medical and welfare systems, the decision to allow an impaired fetus to be born will meet with ferocious disdain, and the decision is not an individual choice any more.

But I agree wholeheartedly with your comment on the Gorsuch opposition - basing it on his concerns about assisted suicide is not a very strong start. The older cohort among us is quite aware that our impending Medicare costs designate us as potential undesirables, if not deplorables. At this time the average older citizen might be looking at his statements through a different lens than two decades ago.

Gahrie said...

It's quite another to empower the Mother to deliver death to her baby who is helpless at the beginning of life when the Mother is in a position to benefit emotionally and financially from ridding herself of this needy and vulnerable person.

FTFY

Gusty Winds said...

I am torn on this issue. My 57 year old Uncle just died of a rare form of colon cancer this past November. It was a one-year battle. In the last month he suffered. Three days before he died, having whittled down to skin and bones he said to me, "Fly me to Oregon." When I asked why he replied, "Assisted suicide. I know I'm going to die and I want to get this over".

This was a guy that loved life. I don't know the right answer. Just a recent experience I had with someone very close.

Static Ping said...

Abortion is not a libertarian litmus test issue. Last I checked libertarians did not see the killing of other human beings as a right to be protected. If one comes to the conclusion that abortion is murder then it is off the table. There are many libertarians who hold this position. Of course, if you do not consider abortion to be equivalent of murder then the libertarian position is to permit it.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Oregon law requirement of consent from the individual and Doctor in terminal cases have not let to mass suicide pacts, but death with dignity and can hardly be described as a group delivering death."

The "group" I refer to is the society as a whole from which law arises. If assisted suicide is illegal, the group is trying to deny that choice to the individual. If assisted suicide is made legal, the group is opening access to this option. The group has a lot of self-interest here, and the individual is vulnerable, considering the fear of poor medical treatment and the psychological abuse of caregivers and others who may intentionally or subtly convey the message that we'd like you to accept death and go — your time for living is over.

CStanley said...

Maxed out Mama is right about the societal pressures to abort due to the burden on society to bear costs for care of babies, particularly disabled ones.

Reversing this, too, shows that the line that Althouse paints is none too distinct. In cases of terminal illness or severe disability, there are individuals who are placed in a position of having to devote their time and resources to the care of the disabled individual, to the point that their bodies keep the other individual alive. The ONLY distinctions between this situation and that of a pregnant mother are that the dependent individual is not within the body of the other and that it is theoretically possible for the care of the disabled person to be transferred to other persons,

In other words, trying to draw a distinction based on whether one individual or all of society is burdened in keeping these two different classes of individuals alive is a nonstarter as far as I'm concerned. These are differences of degree, not kind.

Static Ping said...

AReasonableMan said... I am going to agree with everyone who wants to argue that Althouse cannot so blithely separate abortion and assisted suicide, given that the primarily rationale against both is religiously based.

Try ethically based. There are many atheists and agnostics that oppose abortion. There are many Christians that support it. There are religions that have no opinion on the matter.

Owen said...

Our moral universe rests on consent. But consent only seems simple. How freely given? With knowledge of what consequences? With what confidence in those consequences coming to pass if any branch in the decision is followed?

We pretend to wisdom here.

Jake said...

I love it when the NY Times resorts to concern trolling.

CStanley said...

"The group has a lot of self-interest here, and the individual is vulnerable, considering the fear of poor medical treatment and the psychological abuse of caregivers and others who may intentionally or subtly convey the message that we'd like you to accept death and go — your time for living is over."

Do you really deny that there is also a group that has the incentive to pressure individual women to abort?

There is incentive in many cases for the fathers of the babies to pressure her.

There is incentive in many cases for the woman's parents and extended family to pressure her.

There is incentive for the abortion providers to pressure her.

And there is incentive for society to pressure her if she is financially unable to provide support for the child and especially if the child will require extraordinary medical care.

So how is this different, again?

Ann Althouse said...

I am concerned that once assisted suicide is accepted, more and more people will feel they are doing something wrong if they don't accept death and depart gracefully. Why are they consuming medical care resources that can't make them productive or even comfortable? Look at these children and young parents who have medical needs that could be better served with a reallocation of resources. Look at the taxes and insurance premiums other people are paying while you cling to a life that you're not using for any good purpose. In the end you will die, so what are you waiting for? We're all in this together, you had care in your time, and now it's over. It's not fair. Etc. Etc. What keeps that kind of pressure from gathering steam?

Lee said...

Suggestion -- All assets of a person put to death by assisted suicide be put into a trust for 10 years, at which time the heirs receive their inheritance.

Is the push for assisted suicide really about compassion or is it about greed?

Big Mike said...

Well, assisted suicide answers the question of what to do when the Baby Boomers start collecting Medicare and Social Security in a really big way. After reading the ignorant rant that Achilles posted the other day I can see that he'd not only back assisted suicide as an option for old folks, he'd be happy to join Rahm's brother Zeke in making it mandatory.

Ann Althouse said...

"I love it when the NY Times resorts to concern trolling."

Do you mean the Washington Post or is there some NYT article you are pointing to?

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, you phrased it more elegantly. But I think my summary is more succinct.

EDH said...

Oh, brother, let's not beat this 'dead horse' again.

CStanley said...

@Prof Althouse re 8:47 comment

Of course that kind of pressure gains steam. That's exactly what has happened with the presssure on individual women to abort.

Why waste your opportunity to get an education and advance your career? You owe it to yourself and your future spouse and children to develop your own potential first.

Why burden the man with whom you've accidentally conceived a child?

Why put a burden on society or your parents and family?

Amadeus 48 said...

This is really great. A debate about assisted suicide as the primary focus of criticism of a Supreme Court nominee. Middle America says "What!? This guy has objections to my kids giving me the needle? I think I like him."
Debate over.

rhhardin said...

There was an album in the 50s "Speed the Parting Guest" of sounds to test your hi-fi and speakers.

Owen said...

Ian McEwan's "Amsterdam" comes to mind, perhaps incorrectly, as a chilling exploration of the Dutch approach to assisted suicide. Agree with the Professor that coercion is a huge concern. Layers and layers of social signals, overt and covert, behind that "consent."

mockturtle said...

It's quite another to empower the group to deliver death to an individual who is suffering at the end of life when the group is in a position to benefit emotionally and financially from ridding itself of this needy and vulnerable person.

Ann, that is precisely why I've always been against it. I have seen too many cases where it would have been misused and heaven only knows what the future will bring with so many aging baby boomers and millennials who just want to be rid of them.

rhhardin said...

Suicide in literature is a common figure for change in general, Kenneth Burke says at the beginning of one of his "Rhetoric of" books.

mockturtle said...

As I understand it, he does support the death penalty. It's absurd that we want to kill off unborn babies and vulnerable old people and keep Charles Manson alive for 43 years!!!

William said...

I had a loved one who died in a hospice. She struggled to take another breath right to the end. There's no right way to die, and, with terminal cancer, there's no such thing as a good option.

Kevin said...

"I am concerned that once assisted suicide is accepted, more and more people will feel they are doing something wrong if they don't accept death and depart gracefully. Why are they consuming medical care resources that can't make them productive or even comfortable?"

Same for abortion. Society not only made abortion available, but the preferred choice for young single women who might be diverted from a fulfilling life of higher education and professional achievements. How terrible for society that we would allow a young woman to be a mother rather than a doctor!

Do we really think we'd have so many abortions if it hadn't become the socially-acceptable choice for young women? The woman who drops out of college to have her baby is a pariah. She has failed society's expectations of her.

Fernandinande said...

It's one thing for an individual woman ...

Yes, killing someone else is different than killing yourself.

"These are not normal times."

Says the NY Times, unironically.

"Neil Gorsuch, the Nominee for a Stolen Seat" they opined.

Freeman Hunt said...

When euthanasia is legal, people sometimes decide you can't change your mind. And the doctor's not even in trouble for it.

David Begley said...

For a funny take on assisted suicide read "Boomsday" by Chris Buckley. I can see the Dems getting there really fast. Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse leading the way.

Jake said...

"Do you mean the Washington Post or is there some NYT article you are pointing to?"

Whichever you linked to. I get confused.

Jupiter said...

Ann Althouse said...
"I am concerned that once assisted suicide is accepted, more and more people will feel they are doing something wrong if they don't accept death and depart gracefully."

So you're worried "society" will talk old people into allowing themselves to be killed, but you're not worried women will kill babies without bothering to talk to them at all. Got it. Cruel irrationality.

Just say it up front, Althouse. "Society" is a bunch of men who should shut up and pay their taxes so someone who has had a long life can have a few more days, but "woman" -- hear her roar! -- is a force of nature whose untrammeled desire to have unprotected sex outweighs any other conceivable interests, including those of a person (or twins) with the potential to outlive her by decades. Christ, cruel imbecility is closer to it. A hypothetical. Pretend you were a law prof. Then what would you say?

Jupiter said...

Shorter Althouse - if you recklessly kill another person, it's your fault, and the punishment should be severe. But if you recklessly conceive another person, it's their fault, and the only just sentence is Death.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger Owen said...
Ian McEwan's "Amsterdam" comes to mind, perhaps incorrectly, as a chilling exploration of the Dutch approach to assisted suicide. Agree with the Professor that coercion is a huge concern. Layers and layers of social signals, overt and covert, behind that "consent."

The Dutch now want to make assisted suicide a right at age 75. That's a pretty strong signal. ARM is right, we are all terminal. The Left believes that the self and "personhood" is a creation of society. Shouldn't society be able to destroy what it created?

roesch/voltaire said...

Ann the group, society now has a choice of excellent hospice care which mitigates pain and suffering until the end when under some circumstances tubes etc are with held so that the person can pass. In 2013 only .21% of all deaths in Oregon were due to Death with Dignity Act, and a number of folks who received the "prescription" drug did not use it. There does not seem to be the evidence of the slipper slope towards involuntary euthanasia that you predict.

Michael K said...

One huge problem in physician assisted suicide arrived when lawyers got involved with it.

Hospitals now have all sorts of ethics committees to decide on issues where common sense and the family assisted the doctor in deciding what to do.

I have a number if stories in my second book. In one case, the father was dying and I was asked to put an IV into him to prolong his life a day or so. I thought it was futile. I talked it over with the family and the children voted 5 to 4 to put the IV in. I did and he died the next day.

These are not easy.

Michael K said...

There does not seem to be the evidence of the slipper slope towards involuntary euthanasia that you predict.

Not yet here. Do some reading about The Netherlands.

Michael said...

The children are not going to vote to pressure the parent to end it because he is taking up vital medical resources that could be put to better use on younger patients. No. They are going to pressure the parent to hasten the delivery of the little nest egg that has been gathered and which can be put to better use on the young.

mockturtle said...

They are going to pressure the parent to hasten the delivery of the little nest egg that has been gathered and which can be put to better use on the young.

'Fraid so.

rhhardin said...

There's no reason for suicide now that we have youtube videos to watch.

Yahoo mail in fact, if your mailbox is empty, or even your spam folder, will say this folder is empty but here's a video you might enjoy.

This has led cynics to keep one message in every folder.

AprilApple said...

Right to die as an individual choice - v. creepy leftist governments in charge of that decision for you.

Healthcare promise from leftist Obama: "average family will save $2,500 a year." "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

I now pay 4,400 more per year. My old plan is gone.

Leftists cannot be trusted. They lie. Due to this, government sanctioned assisted suicide is a frightening prospect.

roesch/voltaire said...

The Netherlands are not Oregon and can serve as an example of how we should proceed carefully in death with dignity, which we are doing so far.

Scott McGlasson said...

given that the primarily rationale against both is religiously based

I have no idea what the numbers are "out there", but hereabouts, I'm going to contend that you're wrong. I, at least, while a practicing Lutheran, do not hinge my arguments re abortion on religious grounds because that's been a loser for two decades. More importantly to the citizens of a supposedly free state, the question is entirely based on human rights and when those rights begin.

Kristian Holvoet said...

The biggest difference is that in 'assisted suicide' the term implies consent of the life to cease.

One of the fears, for me, is that assisted suicide will become abortion for governments: terminating a trivial and unwanted to the host organism (i.e., government) bit of cells. I mean, what harm is excising/aborting 1/300,000,000 of the USA host body?

AprilApple said...

Right now - is there any federal legislation on the table banning abortions, restricting abortions or striking down Roe?

I'm asking.

If tax payers are sick of paying for Planned Parenthood - they should have the right to say NO.

Let leftists pay for their own abortions.

If a majority in specific states want to restrict abortions, (ie 20 weeks) and fight legally to make it a reality - Federalism. States have that right. right?

AReasonableMan said...

Static Ping said...
Try ethically based.


The large majority of philosophically based ethicists will have clearly divergent views on these issues compared to those that are religiously based. So, I think it is fair to say that primary driving force here is religion, specifically Christian religion.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Professor, I seem to recall you agreeing that the baby is human, but that the womans right to bodily integrity, that is the right to choose what to with ones own body overrides the baby's right to life. Is that correct?

If so, my argument would be that absent a forced pregnancy (rape) or actual physical harm caused by the pregnancy, then a human's right to life outweighs your right to control your body since pregnancy is a risk anytime there is intercourse.

Theranter said...

Apologies if this has been addressed above, but my not-at-death's door beloved Mother was "Terry Schiavo-ed" by my brother, her Power of Attorney, invoked by Kaiser Dr.'s when they had her high as a kite on morphine and god know what else--it is much too fresh for me to handle reading the comments, but I would like to say that one of the larger issues is the the then-power of attorney (likely to benefit monetarily by a hasty death) can order you euthanized. And there are times when (as in my Mom's case) the person is not on a certain/imminent road to death, just very ill with pneumonia and the flu.

I know, I know, "what if the person had in their living will that should they become incapacitated they wish to be euthanized?" 1) you never know until you are in a situation what you will truly think. 2) Again, this is a huge incentive for a POA to order it done, especially when the "Palliative Care" docs are so persuasively and "compassionately" urging the POA to do so. (saves BIG $$$ for HMOs like Kaiser, and the Dr’s get bonus $.)

I have attended many of John Finnis’ talks, he is likely one of the most brilliant legal philosophers of our time. I’m pleased to hear Gorsuch studied under him. (And Finnis’ book “Natural Law & Natural Rights” is an incredible read.)

Bob Ellison said...

AprilApple, I'm paying roughly twice what I paid before Obamacare. My family plan dies every year because of Obamacare. It's a losing bet that I wouldn't bother with from a financial standpoint. I have one family member who thinks not having a health care plan is sort of its own kind of suicide, though, so I keep trundling up to the pay counter. Not in 2018, unless the GOP repeals.

I'm paying horribly high insurance premiums and getting nothing back. Co-pays, prescription drugs, hospital procedures-- on everything, I'm paying pretty much what the sellers expect to collect. My endocrinologist (I have Type I diabetes) needed $75 for my last visit. That's what they get from the insurance company. Why am I bothering with the insurance card?

And my doctors, all but one, have exited the system.

Lewis Wetzel said...

So, I think it is fair to say that primary driving force here is religion, specifically Christian religion.
I disagree, ARM. Christians consider suicide a sin. It's self murder, your life belongs to God, not you, and so on.
None of the people arguing against assisted suicide on this thread have used those arguments. Instead they express doubts that the state can adequately protect vulnerable individuals from people or institutions that value their death more than they value their life.

traditionalguy said...

Areasonableman seems enamored of Jeremy Bentham. He is the Philosopher who approaches early death without a Religion. He just wants to kill off people quicker and take their stuff. because that is a greater good for a greater number, honest that's his real reason.

The Onion has a good piece on Putting The Earth Down.It has all the arguments.

Next we will probably see a good intellectual piece on putting Trump down...for the greater good of the greater World Government.

Ann Althouse said...

"The difference from abortion is that the elderly speak can for themselves. The Living Will or Advanced Directive is now accepted as the unconscious living pre-speaking for themselves."

Elderly. Interesting word in this context. It think you're missing a side of the devious character called Death.

But anyway... what if the unborn entity could speak and say that it wanted to be born? It would be saying: I want to reside inside the body of another person, to swell that person's body immensely over a period of 9 months, against her will, and cause all sorts of inconveniences and limitations and pains and finally emerge from that place in a dramatically painful experience for her, which will take her many weeks to recover from. That's what I want.

It's an interesting statement of wanting, and we can presume that at least some unborn entities would say that. (I think some would not! And yet it's fantasy to attribute any thoughts to this being.)


The question is whether we as a group will put that preference above the decision of the woman that she doesn't want that to happen to her body. The woman herself can think about what the unborn entity wants and how much to value the imagined preference.

traditionalguy said...

How about a Guardian Ad Litem?

Bob Ellison said...

"against her will"?

What are you talking about? Rape and incest?

Are women just uteruses, sitting around waiting to have these helpless and demanding fetuses thrust inside them?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Scott McGlasson

Agreed. I too am a Lutheran, and also base my arguments on human rights.

Devaluing human life, for any reason, will always end badly. We're already seeing arguments from Ivy League "ethicists" that killing a child after it is born is not "wrong" because the baby has not yet achieved "consciousness."

And thus those born with defects may be disposed of.


Its the humane thing to do, really.

bgates said...

That's what I want.

Or:

I want to live. I regret that it will be necessary, in order for me to live, for me to reside inside the body of another person, to swell that person's body immensely over a period of 9 months, whether she wants me there or not, and cause all sorts of inconveniences and limitations and pains and finally emerge from that place in a dramatically painful experience for her, which will take her many weeks to recover from. But if that other person does not endure those nine months, I will not live, ever.

LYNNDH said...

Assisted suicide and abortion. I voted here in CO for the assisted suicide law. I have a question, if a person stipulated in a Living Will that extraordinary measures are not to be implemented if certain factors arise, is that "assisted" suicide? If someone decided that they do not want any nourishment, is that "assisted" suicide? Withholding assistance to stay alive is tantamount to "assistance". Surly both cases it is suicide, right?
I do not oppose abortion. I do not want the government to pay for it. I do think that there should be a time frame where abortions should not be preformed, unless the life of the mother is in grave, maybe mortal, danger. I am a man and I feel I do not have the right to tell someone I don't even know that they can't have an abortion (excepted as noted above).
Moral and ethical decisions are not easy to make, especially when made for others.

AReasonableMan said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
None of the people arguing against assisted suicide on this thread have used those arguments.


As someone else noted upstream, this is primarily a tactical response because those arguments have not gained much traction in general society. This doesn't mean that the underlying motivation is not primarily religious in nature. The split on these issues, in general, reflects religion, not unreasonably but it can't be ignored either. Obviously there are exceptions, Althouse for example flips on the two issues.

JAORE said...

Using the criteria that one non-libertarian position makes you NOT a libertarian is instructive. In that case only the very most extreme of the extreme are liberal, or conservative or racist or patriotic or pro-choice, or pro free speech or.....

AprilApple said...

Bob Ellison-

Sorry. Obamacare is all Lies LIES LIES and more lies, and the corruptocrats have the audacity to layer more lies on it. "If you repeal it, everyone will lose their health care."

Bull.
Lies. Leftist lie. it's all they do. They lie.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

This doesn't mean that the underlying motivation is not primarily religious in nature. The split on these issues, in general, reflects religion, not unreasonably but it can't be ignored either.

Dismissing an argument because you suspect that the person delivering it has a motivation you disagree with does not, actually, answer the argument.

Big Mike said...

... but I do regret that the litmus test has not been put to rest.

@roesch, over the next eight years there are many things you will come to regret, chief among them is the reality that the two finalists for the Dumbocrat nomination are just about the only two Dumbocrats that Trump could have beaten.

n.n said...

She Chose. She conceived. She ?

The Choice, with rare exception, occurs before conception. If it is understood to be otherwise, then we desperately need education reform.

Bob Ellison said...

A more apt comparison is between assisted suicide and capital punishment. The state is involved in both cases, and so has an interest.

In assisted suicide, we get rid of those creepy old people with all their medical bills. Society wins!

In capital punishment, we get rid of those psychotic murderers with all their housing bills in prison. Society wins!

Difficult to separate those two.

cubanbob said...

Ann Althouse said...
I am concerned that once assisted suicide is accepted, more and more people will feel they are doing something wrong if they don't accept death and depart gracefully. Why are they consuming medical care resources that can't make them productive or even comfortable? Look at these children and young parents who have medical needs that could be better served with a reallocation of resources. Look at the taxes and insurance premiums other people are paying while you cling to a life that you're not using for any good purpose. In the end you will die, so what are you waiting for? We're all in this together, you had care in your time, and now it's over. It's not fair. Etc. Etc. What keeps that kind of pressure from gathering steam?"

We already have accepted this to a large extent via abortion. The country has a population that all else being the same is fewer by 55 million. As for reallocation of resources, funny how long term able bodied welfare deadbeats continue to suck the blood of the taxpayers for no good purpose.

Static Ping said...

Blogger AReasonableMan said... The large majority of philosophically based ethicists will have clearly divergent views on these issues compared to those that are religiously based. So, I think it is fair to say that primary driving force here is religion, specifically Christian religion.

That's interesting but not relevant. Religions provide ethical frameworks for their adherents. It is still ethically based. The fact that philosophically based ethicists diverge on issues from religious based ethics is not terribly surprising. If they agreed with the religious ethics then they would most likely be a member of said religion and therefore no longer philosophically based. This is a meaningless argument.

The issue of the value of human life and the morality thereof is as complicated and uncertain a topic as could possibly exist in the human experience. I very much believe there are objective answers and I have my own set of answers, but said answers cannot be proved by anyone. Regardless of where those ethics come from, they are by their very nature subjective. However, said answers are also vitally important to how society is organized and how one lives life. There are subjective matters that cannot be ignored. This is meaning of life stuff.

I find it highly amusing when those with philosophically based ethics deride religiously based ethics. The person who subscribes to a religion bases his views on the instructions of a God or gods or other supernatural insight, an objective standard. The non-religious philosopher bases his ethics on the ideas of human beings or, at times, himself or herself. I fail to understand how putting faith in man is in any way superior.

Nonapod said...

The whole assisted suicide debate is a messy discussion.

Millennials are considerably poorer than Boomers were at their age (for a number of complex reasons). Many aren't able to afford houses like their parents and grandparents could at their age, and are in massive debt from student loans. Now all these Boomers will be retiring with lots of property and living for decades. It's a dark future where parents have to fear their children.

In an ideal situation a person should be able to decide when they've suffered enough. But unfortunately you can never be certain that family members are being selfless or selfish.

JAORE said...

In 2013 only .21% of all deaths in Oregon were due to Death with Dignity Act, and a number of folks who received the "prescription" drug did not use it.

Might be the official numbers. But I strongly suspect there are a TON more physician assisted suicides that fall outside of the use of the prescription drug. Turning up the morphine drip is a common, if not much discussed, practice. Keeps it between the Doc and the family.

Bob Ellison said...

It's always a moral comparison: what would be the moral thing to do? Could I restrict a suffering person from ending life just because I don't like the idea of assisted suicide? Could I restrict the state from executing a person just because I don't like the idea of execution?

If morality is your guide, you might say, sure, suicide is morally (religiously, as I think ARM correctly notes) wrong, and execution is morally acceptable, because it removes a cancer from the populace.

You might otherwise say, no, suicide is fine, because some people shouldn't have to suffer just because we're squeamish, and execution is morally wrong, because no state should have the right to end a life, and he might turn out to be innocent in the end.

Abortion seems morally wrong from the start in most cases. You end a life because you don't want the hassle?

Paddy O said...

"So, I think it is fair to say that primary driving force here is religion"

What's the difference between a religion and a orienting philosophy?

That's a serious question.

It's not having a deity, that's just theism and not all religions have that. Is it a metaphysics of some kind? Well, philosophies have those too.

I'm not sure you can separate out religion from philosophy, not in our significantly more multicultural era.

If we have a philosophy that drives our ethics and understanding of personhood, that's effectively a religion, though maybe of a nontheist type.

AReasonableMan said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...
Dismissing an argument because you suspect that the person delivering it has a motivation you disagree with does not, actually, answer the argument.


I am not dismissing any argument based on motivation. This being said, I remain unconvinced that these kinds of issues lend themselves to rational argument. There is no data, no incontrovertible logic and no maths. People have opinions/feelings and then look for rationales.

It is not a suspicion but rather an observation of a statistical inhomogeneity.

MaxedOutMama said...

The US is currently conducting euthanasia on a massive scale for Medicare patients in hospices. If you put a Medicare patient in a hospice (under the less than six months to live, palliative care only) rubric late in the year, and the hospice is not a genuinely religious one, the person will be killed within days by the administration of massive sedatives that destroy the ability to breathe.

In some cases (I volunteer at a charity clinic), I've seen patients who were not dying killed within two days. It's murder, unambiguous murder.

The reason why this occurs is that Medicare pays all hospice expenses, but there is a per capita cap imposed, so that at the end of the year, if your average patient exceeded the cap, then the "excess" is clawed back. So if the hospice takes another patient, and the patient dies quickly, all of that patient's excess cap is effectively paid to the hospice.

The per-patient cap is under $28,000:
https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/Downloads/MM9301.pdf

People are quite happy not to know about this, but this debate is idiotic without knowing about it. Private insurance companies are starting to pick up on the same trick in various ways.

If you don't believe me, read this:
http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/FBI-Frisco-Hospice-Owner-Directed-Nurses-to-Overdose-Patients-373933951.html

This guy was dumb enough to put it in writing. Most are not that stupid.

Jupiter said...

Ann Althouse said...

"The woman herself can think about what the unborn entity wants and how much to value the imagined preference."

Well, no Althouse. I think you have already established that when the urge to fuck some idiot she just met is upon her, a woman is simply incapable of considering the well-known and entirely predictable consequences. And when that overmastering urge is not upon her, she can't imagine that it might be, and take precautions. It just doesn't cross her scattered little mind to actually ingest those birth control pills the government thoughtfully provided. And it's also clear that if she sees so much as an ultra-sound of the result, her motherhood hormones will kick in, and another potential abortion will be lost. What is needed here is for the State to intrude and bring about the socially desirable result that a woman is too blindly irrational to achieve by herself. We call it The Xatriarchy.

Gahrie said...

But anyway... what if the unborn entity could speak and say that it wanted to be born? It would be saying: I want to reside inside the body of another person, to swell that person's body immensely over a period of 9 months, against her will, and cause all sorts of inconveniences and limitations and pains and finally emerge from that place in a dramatically painful experience for her, which will take her many weeks to recover from. That's what I want

What other choice does the child have?

Aww who gives a shit as long as a woman isn't inconvenienced......

Lewis Wetzel said...

There is no data, no incontrovertible logic and no maths.
Human values are not dependent on data, logic and maths.

Sebastian said...

"It's one thing for an individual woman to decide to decline to devote her own body to the gestation of a new individual." True. That's why she has every right to avoid conception. But once "gestation" occurs, it is not just up to her to "decide" to "decline." There are co-gestators involved, and professionals licensed by the state, and, oh yeah, the gestatee. And of course, regardless of anyone's opinion on the subject, the Constitution is silent on the matter.

As I said in another thread, it will be interesting to see Gorsuch debate the fine points of Finnis with the likes of Al Franken. Then again, maybe not.

Gahrie said...

The question is whether we as a group will put that preference above the decision of the woman that she doesn't want that to happen to her body.

It's not preferences at issue, it is the lives of children. The issue is, will we put the life of a child above the decision of the woman not to be inconvenienced.

The woman herself can think about what the unborn entity wants and how much to value the imagined preference.

Sure she can. She can think all she wants. It is the act of killing her child we have a problem with.

Achilles said...

Blogger roesch/voltaire said...
"The Netherlands are not Oregon and can serve as an example of how we should proceed carefully in death with dignity, which we are doing so far."

Also said by leftists: "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor."

Face it RV. You are not going to get the benefit of the doubt. Your leaders are bad people. Leftists over the course of history have told lies to get power and killed millions once they have it.

Any intelligent person would look back at the history of the progressive movement and recoil in horror.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"I'm not quite dead yet."

"I feel fine. Might go for a walk."

"Oh shut up, you're not fooling anyone."

"I feel happy, I feel happy."\

BONK!

Or whatever it was.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGFXGwHsD_A

eric said...

But anyway... what if the unborn entity could speak and say that it wanted to be born? It would be saying: I want to reside inside the body of another person, to swell that person's body immensely over a period of 9 months, against her will, and cause all sorts of inconveniences and limitations and pains and finally emerge from that place in a dramatically painful experience for her, which will take her many weeks to recover from. That's what I want.

Why stop there? That's nothing! After the child is born, the mother loses sleep. Has to put up with crapped in clothes. Has to listen to I cessant crying and demands to be fed and held.

I mean, 9 months compared to years as an infant and toddler? Let's stretch abortion to the 3 year old mark, shall we? Wouldn't want parents to be too inconvenienced.

Gahrie said...

If so, my argument would be that absent a forced pregnancy (rape) or actual physical harm caused by the pregnancy, then a human's right to life outweighs your right to control your body since pregnancy is a risk anytime there is intercourse.

You have forgotten the basic premise of modern life...women have rights and no responsibilities, and must never, ever face a consequence for her actions.

Kevin said...

"The Choice, with rare exception, occurs before conception."

Not so rare, if you're the male half of the population.

eric said...


“All human beings are intrinsically valuable,” he writes in the book, “and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”


Blogger Boxty said...
If the intentional taking of life is always wrong then is he against capital punishment? Lethal self defense??


He isn't against capital punishment because it's the taking of life By a private individual that's always wrong.

Jupiter said...

I'm really not all that concerned about the violence to unborn babies. Although it's sickening, I find it fairly easy to put it out of my mind. But the violence you do to logic in the course of trying to justify the unjustifiable is a wrenching experience. Just fess up already. A man and a woman indulge in an orgasm or two. She gets pregnant, he does not. The injustice of this fundamental biological fact upsets you, and you seek some remedy. Well, fine. But don't try to square it with some hypothetical legal or social perfection. It is squalid and selfish and disgusting, and we all know it.

Think of it as like War. We all know that in war, people kill others without any moral reason beyond the fact that the person killed is on the other side. Soldiers often find that they have more respect for those they kill than for those they are supposedly fighting for. But There It Is, and you won't get around it by philosophy. Don't try to pretty it up, just stick the bayonet through his eye socket and move on. He is the Enemy, and he has no rights that a Woman is bound to consider.

mockturtle said...

But anyway... what if the unborn entity could speak and say that it wanted to be born? It would be saying: I want to reside inside the body of another person, to swell that person's body immensely over a period of 9 months, against her will, and cause all sorts of inconveniences and limitations and pains and finally emerge from that place in a dramatically painful experience for her, which will take her many weeks to recover from. That's what I want.

It's an interesting statement of wanting, and we can presume that at least some unborn entities would say that. (I think some would not! And yet it's fantasy to attribute any thoughts to this being.)


Ann, I cannot believe that you really think an unborn child, if give the opportunity, would altruistically choose death over life to spare its mother the inconvenience. There is rationalization and there is gross rationalization.

Kevin said...

"A more apt comparison is between assisted suicide and capital punishment. The state is involved in both cases, and so has an interest."

Oh, let's not wave our hands past the state's role and interest in abortion.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

AReasonableMan said...I am going to agree with everyone who wants to argue that Althouse cannot so blithely separate abortion and assisted suicide, given that the primarily rationale against both is religiously based.

"Everyone who disagrees with me is an irrational kook, therefore there is no point to discussing viewpoints other than my own."

Come on, ARM, that's childish and beneath you.

C Stanley said...

A man and a woman indulge in an orgasm or two. She gets pregnant, he does not. The injustice of this fundamental biological fact upsets you, and you seek some remedy. Well, fine. But don't try to square it with some hypothetical legal or social perfection. It is squalid and selfish and disgusting, and we all know it.

Once, in the middle of a blog debate, I said something similar about the biological disparity and that pro choice women simply want permission to kill the unborn as redress for this. The other woman, instead of recognizing the ugliness and depravity that I was pointing out, actually thought I'd had an epiphany and come to understand the righteousness of her side!

Earnest Prole said...

As George Michael said, Choose Life.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guildofcannonballs said...

Microbes explains the suicidal altruism abounding, like Facebook.

Makes sense in the womb too.

Remember cat poop does funny stuff to people too, cf. Coupe.

Michael K said...

"her Power of Attorney, invoked by Kaiser Dr.'s when they had her high as a kite on morphine"

Kaiser is not a good place to be if you are very vulnerable. I have a story about that in my book, too.

Doctors have been criticized, with considerable justification, of excessive treatment in a quest for more revenue.

The problem is that prepaid care, either on the HMO model or the government health care model, has the opposite incentive.

That is to undertreat to save money,. How many have bought those new home guarantee polices and then tried to get something fixed ?

"I said something similar about the biological disparity and that pro choice women simply want permission to kill the unborn as redress for this."

Once on facebook, I commented on a post by some women who objected that men should have no say in abortion at all.

My comment was that I agreed as long as they were only aborting female babies.

The woman went nuts and tracked down all my female relatives and friends and sent them texts accusing me of wanting to abort females. I was getting back lash for months from relatives who know me but who took the fake version seriously.

A lot of these people have mental disorders.

AReasonableMan said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
Human values are not dependent on data, logic and maths.


I would agree that they cannot be reduced solely to data, logic and maths. In that absence of certainty, however, I favor personal freedom as a general principle.

n.n said...

Karen:

Denying life unworthy has popular acceptance, which may or may not represent a majority, including good Americans, under Pro-Choice.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"In that absence of certainty, however, I favor personal freedom as a general principle."
Getting government permission to off yourself is not a great example of personal freedom.

Matt said...

"It's quite another to empower the group to deliver death to an individual who is suffering at the end of life when the group is in a position to benefit emotionally and financially from ridding itself of this needy and vulnerable person."

Ann, that is one if the most cynical things you have ever written. What do you mean by group? The government or a family? Many people legally choose to not be revived and not to be kept alive if they reach a state in which they cannot make such decisions. It's called dying with dignity. To turn that into The group" financially benefiting from that is outrageous if you think families abiding by their parents or loved ones wishes is ONLY to benefit financially. Good grief. I'd like a better explanation of what you mean. Not everyone has the benefit of dying quickly and without serious pain. Helping loved ones reach an exit is very important.

n.n said...

So, elective abortion of wholly innocent human lives, when they have no voice to protest, no arms to resist, is analogous to capital punishment of people who commit premeditated murder?

And then there is clinical cannibalism. A clear and present conflict of interest.

firstHat said...

Side notes: the proliferation of the idea of "death with dignity" was no accident, but rather a deliberate manipulation of our culture by interested parties. An old, but important timeline of the agenda and related activities can be found here: http://www.lifetree.org/timeline/ (you'll find familiar players such as George Soros in the midst of it all). To see more recent (though not entirely up to date) info check this blog http://belburyreview.com

Karen said...

Ann Althouse, these arguments were all made and refined in the seminal book that led up to the killings of the Holocaust. See if you can find yourself a copy of it. The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value. The author was a "medical ethicist" . Within his ethics, he discovered a way to use abortion to prepare doctors to be willing to execute mentally disabled people for the good of the nation. From that, it was only a few more steps to being willing to find a way to destroy the entire Jewish population.

Bruce Hayden said...

Interesting discussion. So much different that the name calling that Ann and Meade had to delete early this morning from the overnight Gorsuch thread. not seeing them here makes you think, again, that some of them are millennial living in their parents' basements, and taking Soros money hey to disrupt whatever they can. Because of the seriousness of the subject, it has been one of the best discussions I have seen over the last several weeks.

My worry is, and will continue to be, now that I am on Medicare, how much of our care will be pushed to assisted suicide, to almost outright murder. The problem is that medical care comes out of a budget (that was raided to fund Obamacare), a lot of Baby Boomers are nearing Medicare age, are often healthier than their parents were at that age, will likely consume resources much longer, so, technology is making medicine more expensive, and all ultimately cost more. All paid for by generations still paying off their college debt. Money, and esp govt money, is extremely fungible. Sarah Palin named Obamacare review boards "Death Panels". The worry is that, in order to make budget, and have money for other progressive pipe dreams, that these Death Panels will, ultimately, be pushed into rationing care, and pushing us, faster than we may wish, into death.

I should note that we lost our father last fall. He was 94, and had had a long, full life, and was able run the family company into his 94th year. Several things stuck with me about it. One was that the rehabilitation place he spent two months in apparently was able to justify their services to Medicare (by claiming improvement) up to the Medicare limits. And then longer if there were supplemental insurance. When that ran out, you were out the door. The other was that after he was diagnosed with brain tumors, the doctors pushed very hard for the feeding tube to be pulled, supposedly in order not to feed the tumors. Luckily for all concerned, he went before he could starve to death. I trust the brother who made the decision, and he being able to make it rationally was why he got the job. But, he has three graduate degrees, and knows that doctors put on their pans just like the rest of us. What about people who dont have the experience and education to stand up to doctors? Doctors who are also subject to budgets (which is exactly where Obamacare was pushing them)? If they make more by incurring fewer medical expenses for their patients.

Maybe I should feel happy to commit suicide when diagnosed with some intractable disease. This sort of thing does happen in some cultures. But I feel little connection to the unwed mothers having kid after kid, or the immigrants coming here for access to our healthcare and welfare systems. But I am not ready yet to get out of the way. I paid into Medicare for much of 50 years, and think that I deserve the money more than someone who hasn't contributed. My worry is that healthcare rationing is going to make suicide the preferred alternative.

n.n said...

There is a difference between assisted self-abortion and allowing Nature to take her course. People who oppose waging social justice through war should appreciate the distinction.

Amendment 3 - Quartering of Soldiers.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Perhaps babies could be classified as patriarchal foot soldiers in the war on women. So, their evolution from conception to birth would be regulated by the State-established Pro-Choice doctrine (e.g. selective-child), while at other times their lives would be subject to the goodwill of their mothers. Surely, a debasement of human life, a progressive slope. But, babies, those colorful clumps of cells, are also our Posterity, a named party to the Constitution.

That said, should denying life unworthy, from conception to natural, accidental, or elective death, be normalized under the Pro-Choice doctrine, tolerated, or rejected? What compelling interest does the State have to influence the outcome?

AReasonableMan said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
Getting government permission to off yourself is not a great example of personal freedom.


Shouldn't that be, the state should have a very compelling reason in order to block assisted suicide?

Bruce Hayden said...

@Dr K - got your point on Kaiser. My worry is that Obamacare seemed to be moving towards paying doctors for efficiency, which is not that different - esp once you realize how difficult it is to accurately measure physician efficiency (which, I can assure you, the Obamacare architects had no conception of - it is far more complicated than just totaling up charges incurred). I got into this area with my patent work, which resulted in my reading seemingly innumerable articles on calculating physician efficiency. And representing one of the experts in the field. Which is why I am always suspicious of any scheme that tries to tie physician renumeration to efficiency - you (physicians) are rational actors, more or less, and respond to stimuli as predicted. If there is an overall budget, like at Kaiser, there will be pressure to cut expensive services. If there is a reward for minimizing costs when the doctors can select the patients, a lot of physicians are only going to take the patients with the cheapest care. Etc. (Indeed, one of the first things you need to do to accurately evaluate physician efficiency is to control for practice mix).

Levi Starks said...

Decline to devote her body....
Oh that's rich....

Bad Lieutenant said...

RV,

In 2013 only .21% of all deaths in Oregon were due to Death with Dignity Act, and a number of folks who received the "prescription" drug did not use it.



1. Wait, what? A quarter percent of ALL deaths in Oregon? Including like natural deaths and car accidents and so forth? That sounds like it could be a hell of a lot of deaths! How many do you think would be appropriate or excessive? Half?

2. Wait, what?! Doctors can prescribe death drugs in Oregon, and presumably those drugs are humane, but there is nothing out there that you can give to a multiple murderer on death row?

Levi Starks said...

Decline to devote her body....
Oh that's rich....

mockturtle said...

If I choose to commit suicide, I have a perfectly good Ruger .38 that would do the job. Why drag in a third party? Just to disperse the blame?

Rick said...

roesch/voltaire said...
The Netherlands are not Oregon and can serve as an example of how we should proceed carefully in death with dignity, which we are doing so far.


This rings hollow from a group constantly arguing we need to emulate the rest of the industrial world - whether that means more welfare, more regulation, or more government control over healthcare. If we're not the Netherlands it's only because the left hasn't gotten us there yet.

In addition we don't have to look to how they behave, we already see it here. Left wing critics of healthcare complain we spend more as a % of GDP on healthcare than the EU countries which they describe as wasteful and present as a savings opportunity. A large component of this is the relatively large sums we spend on end of life care. To achieve the savings they highlight we have to stop this spending. Right now advocates are wary of pursuing this since the spotlight will reveal their efforts and could result in the complete reversal of Obamacare. But as Obamacare becomes "accepted law" pressure to achieve these savings will increase.

This is why dishonest advocates for assisted suicide are eager to claim victory in what is effectively halfway into the first quarter of a tie game. As time passes the impact will become clearer so from their perspective it's important to get the issue off the table and end the scrutiny.

CStanley said...

roesch/voltaire said...
The Netherlands are not Oregon and can serve as an example of how we should proceed carefully in death with dignity, which we are doing so far.

This reminded me of the typical left wing idea that socialism hasn't worked because it hasn't yet been tried by the right people.

AReasonableMan said...

mockturtle said...
If I choose to commit suicide, I have a perfectly good Ruger .38 that would do the job. Why drag in a third party? Just to disperse the blame?


Not a lot of guns allowed in hospitals and hospices, might disrupt the business model.

People would be forced to prejudge when they are going to be incapacitated and kill themselves before they are unable to act independently. Although does in fact happen, it is hardly ideal, or anything the anti-assisted suicide crowd would apparently want to promote.

viejo loco said...

Ah, yes, everything becomes new again; "LebensUnswereLeben."
When will they hold the new Wansee conference?

AReasonableMan said...

When will people finally tire of invoking the Nazis when they themselves have nothing to say?

roesch/voltaire said...

Rick don't be silly in your generalizations. Some folks suggest that certain things work well in Scandinavia like education, or health care but are not interested in changing our system but instead adopting and modifying good examples to fit ours. Death with Dignity is not a left or right idea, but one held by folks with a full spectrum of beliefs. As I stated hospice, do not resuscitate codes, etc give folks a wide variety of choices, and for those with debilitating terminal cancer they may what to Chose death with dignity.

mockturtle said...

ARM says: Not a lot of guns allowed in hospitals and hospices, might disrupt the business model.

Nowadays, very few hospitals keep patients admitted until they die from a terminal illness. And most people on Hospice are at home, as was my husband when he died. It is unlikely that a hospital or nursing home [or in-patient Hospice] would permit assisted suicide, either.

AReasonableMan said...

"60% of Americans die in acute care hospitals, 20% in nursing homes and only 20% at home"

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HT said...

I've taught the abortion and assisted suicide cases for many years, and what's always seemed importantly different about assisted suicide is the problem that a few years back got labeled "death panels." It's one thing for an individual woman to decide to decline to devote her own body to the gestation of a new individual and for courts to deprive the group of the power to force her to do it. It's quite another to empower the group to deliver death to an individual who is suffering at the end of life when the group is in a position to benefit emotionally and financially from ridding itself of this needy and vulnerable person.

What do you mean with that last sentence?

Death panels? What about life panels? Why is pulling the plug seen as playing God while insisting on assistive devices to breathe for or a person and keep him alive not?

If that's not what you meant, and what you mean is related only to suffering, why do you say "ridding yourself?" Is that the only motivation you can possible fathom?

Saint Croix said...

I do realize that I have a lot of readers who are about to tell me that it's not quite another thing, it's the same thing. I do understand the way in which the 2 things are the same.

I think it's plural; there are many ways abortion and assisted suicide are similar.

1) Both show a disregard for the sanctity of human life.

2) Both show a disregard for the Hippocratic Oath and medical ethics, since in both cases it is doctors who are licensed to do this killing.

3) The Ninth Circuit, relying on Planned Parenthood v. Casey held that there was a constitutional right for a physician to assist in suicide.

4) Both "rights" pick on the weak and the vulnerable, the non-viables, the very young or the very old. These are the same people who would kill newborns or the handicapped. They would own slaves if they could. They write law review articles about baby markets.

5) The financial motive for killing old people is similar to the financial motive for aborting babies.

Althouse opposes assisted suicide, on the grounds that "the group is in a position to benefit emotionally and financially from ridding itself of this needy and vulnerable person." And yet we can make the exact same criticism about abortion. Millions of aborting moms and dads benefit emotionally and financially by riding themselves of an unwanted baby, who of course is a "needy and vulnerable person."

There are some important differences between the two actions. It's entirely possible that a person who needs assistance in committing suicide nonetheless consents to the suicide. We might question how valid that consent is, and see how many different ways that consent is a minefield. Nonetheless it is certainly possible that an individual consents to the suicide and wishes to die.

An unborn baby, on the other hand, never consents to an abortion. She is stabbed or poisoned against her will, an act of violence against an innocent person who is too weak to resist.

Another important distinction is that the state has defined the unborn child as a non-person who is outside the law.

(The Supreme Court, by the way, unanimously overruled the Ninth Circuit. To do so, of course, they had to distinguish the right to assisted suicide from the right to abort a pregnancy. My view is that they did not distinguish the two actions so much as they simply had a loss of nerve. They had no interest or stomach to go any further down the killing road. It's not jurisprudence that decided Glucksberg, it was cowardice and an implicit acknowledgment that they screwed up badly in Roe v. Wade).

mockturtle said...

3) The Ninth Circuit, relying on Planned Parenthood v. Casey held that there was a constitutional right for a physician to assist in suicide.

St. Croix, can you think of one rational decision by the Ninth Circuit Court?

Saint Croix said...

Another distinction, of course, is that the Supreme Court is filled with old people. There are old people who think that old people should die. But I imagine most of them are against it.

I think if the Supreme Court was filled with pregnant girls their abortion opinions would be quite different.

I think for some people, ideology trumps everything. But for most of us, when we have more knowledge, our opinions change.

Saint Croix said...

St. Croix, can you think of one rational decision by the Ninth Circuit Court?

Yes, any majority opinion written by Alex Kozinski!

DavidD said...

Saw a book once with a preface that said the person was a fiscal conservative but "live-and-let-live" on abortion and other social issues.

Wouldn't the "live-and-let-live" position on abortion be a pro-life one?

Unknown said...

Pro life and an Episcopalian! Why hasn't AA commented that Gorsuch would be the only Protestant on the court?

Mark Caplan said...

Judge Gorsuch's book on euthanasia would be a lovely gift for someone with a terminal illness and in continual, excruciating pain. God willing, the judge himself will one day be in a such a situation, which will enable him to marvel at his Solomonic wisdom and Christ-like compassion.

Jeff said...

I don't understand the push for physician-assisted suicide. To its proponents I pose this question:

You can look on the Internet and find easy, painless ways to off yourself that require nothing more than a plastic bag and a tank of helium or nitrogen. So why the desire to drag someone else into it? Is it that you don't want suicides to be responsible for their own deaths? Or maybe you don't really believe these people are suicidal without a little push from an authority figure?