Assisted-Suicide Debate

I will be taking part in a June 1 debate at Dartmouth on physician-assisted suicide. The two other participants will be Ronald Green (professor of religion at Dartmouth) and Robert Macauley (professor of pediatrics at Univ. of Vermont College of Medicine). It will be held at the Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall and will begin at 7 pm click here to read.

The event is free, and open to all. For further information, contact Jared Rhoads at:

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One thought on “Assisted-Suicide Debate

  1. Mel McGuire


    I hope the debate will be recorded on video; it would be useful in the fight. Too often, the supporters of doctor assisted suicide are not really good when it comes to refuting the many objections to it; from what you've written already, I'm sure your contribution will be far better.

    I've been passionately interested in this topic since my girlfriend died a hard death in 1993. With this experience and other horror stories I've read about, I cannot grasp how anyone of goodwill can oppose doctor assisted dying.

    With this much interest, I even watched about 15 hours of debate in the UK House of Lords on their version of Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. Putting the new objections from there with the ones I already knew about, I made up a list of 3 dozen bogus objections which I give below. Bottom line though, I assert the moral case by saying that doctor assisted dying is a rational, benevolent decision by a terminal patient using his own judgement and violates no one's rights. Taking one's own life does not always deserve the moral opprobrium baggage commonly attached to it. 

    Bogus objections to doctor assisted dying:

    1   Grandma will be talked/bullied into dying early to get her money, end the need to help her etc 
    2   It's a cop out.
    3   It's cowardly.
    4   It's selfish.
    5   It's murder on the part of the doctor.
    6   It's a slippery slope to murder.
    7   It'll harm the medical profession.
    8   It'll make vulnerable people feel bad about not dying.
    9   It will end up in killing disabled people.
    10 It's a sin against God.
    11 The suffering is good for you.
    12 Describing it as "euthanasia."
    12 People considerably outlive the 6 month prognosis.
    12 Life is always beautiful, valuable, etc.
    13 Life is sacred. A gift.
    14 Palliative care and/or "good care" make assisted dying unnecessary.
    15 Suffering is a gift to others.
    16 Doctors are participating in evil.
    17 Only God should choose one's time of death.
    18 Keeps one from satisfying goodbyes to friends/relatives.
    19 There will be pressure to expand the law.
    20 It's against the Hippocratic oath.
    21 It could do long term psychological harm to one's children.
    22 It's not a personal choice because a doctor is involved.
    23  I don't think it is about choice because care homes/hospitals can kill people more
          easily with laws like this. 
    24 Death isn't dignified. Life is dignified.
    25 The AMA disagrees with physician assisted suicide
    26 Your taking away hope.
    27 You're taking away their chance for a miracle.
    28 “…amounts to eugenics for the infirm, but with the government’s stamp of approval.”
    29 It's suicide.
    30 Taking the pills has a moral problem that stopping treatment doesn't
    31 Doctors make mistakes
    32 Holland experience.
    33 Insurance may only pay for DwD.
    34 You already have the option to starve yourself to death.
    35 Someone else may use the toxic meds unused by the patient.
    36 As disabled person on ventilator, I might be irresponsible and ask for the drugs and the 
         doctor might be irresponsible and give them to me.

    (A note on the "abuse" objection: Using a point made in the insightful recent Canadian Supreme Court decision mandating a doctor assisted dying law within one year, I've been pointing out that the current system which allows patients to refuse treatment, is also open to errors by doctors and abusive family pressure. The laws being proposed in the US and elsewhere are actually safer than current practice.)


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