Last week Washington state voters made it legal for doctors to help patients kill themselves and in doing so followed Oregon in becoming the second state to embrace physician-assisted suicide.
I was glad to see that the Washington State Medical Association opposed the initiative but am confused as to why the organizatoin plans to support the law. It would see the same rational one uses to oppose the legalization of physician assisted suicide would be the reason a doctor, if given the choice, would resist the law. Wesley Smith comments,
Medical professionals must resist turning killing (which means to end life) into a medical treatment. None can be forced (yet) to participate. Such modeling may save lives of people who, thanks to the continued professionals of non participating medical professionals, will never ask for assisted suicide. And it will give courage to others to resist the culture of death that this way comes.
Remarkably, proponents of the law seem to believe that the involvement of a primary care physician enhances the rightness of suicide despite the Medical Association's opposition to the practice. Oh, the irony...
Beyond the hype and well funded marketing that was used to motivate the law, Wesley Smith explains the reason behind the rise in the euthanasia movement:
Think of it as a symptom rather than a cause. The euthanasia movement reflects a profound nihilism that has been spreading like a cancer throughout the West for the past hundred years.
The extent of our societal illness was described succinctly several years ago by the Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne. Writing in the wake of widespread public support for Robert Latimer, a Saskatchewan farmer who murdered his twelve-year-old daughter Tracy because she was disabled by cerebral palsy, Coyne wrote: "A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured."
The respect for life includes abhorance of self-murder and necessarily seeks legal sanctions against those who participate in the act of assisted suicide. The practice of helping patients kill themselves in Washington State, Oregon and beyond must be trumpted as objectionable, immoral and unacceptable.