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Assisted Suicide of the Intellectually Disabled?

2 February 2018

​Further down the eugenic slope

Delaware State House considering assisted suicide bill that would permit assisted suicide for "intellectually disabled".

Campaigners against euthanasia have reacted forcefully to an assisted suicide bill being considered by the Delaware State House. The bill, if passed, would permit the "intellectually disabled" to qualify for assisted suicide. "The assisted suicide lobby is committed to expanding who 'qualifies' for assisted suicide," Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews."The language in the Delaware bill is part of the assisted suicide lobby's attempt to expand the assisted suicide laws."

"These are people who can’t legally enter contracts! They can’t control where they live! They can’t make their own medical decisions! They also can’t vote, pursuant to the Delaware Constitution!" Wesley J. Smith wrote for National Review. "Yet, if they have a terminal illness, they are going to be able to commit assisted suicide if a social worker – who may be ideologically predisposed in favour – confirms that they ‘understand.’"

He asked family members to hold her down

The bill comes at a time when assisted suicide and euthanasia cases are attracting an increasing amount of commentary from those alarmed by the 'slippery slope' of the practice euthanasia, both voluntary and involuntary. Writing for The Washington Post, Charles Lane asks, "How many botched cases would it take to end euthanasia of the vulnerable?".

He recalls the case of the physician-assisted death of a 74-year-old woman with dementia in the Netherlands in 2016, referred to only as patient "2016-85" in official documents. The patient had made an "ambiguously worded" request for euthanasia in case of dementia, but was no longer able to clarify her wishes by the time she was placed in a nursing home. Despite the lack of a clear expression from the patient, a physician concluded her suffering was unbearable and incurable — though there was no terminal physical illness — and prepared a lethal injection. To ensure the patient’s compliance, the doctor gave her coffee spiked with a sedative, and, when the woman still recoiled from the needle, asked family members to hold her down.

Neither voluntary, painless nor dignified, this physician-assisted death has become the first ever referred to prosecutors by the Dutch regulatory commission.

Earlier this year, a Dutch euthanasia regulator quit her post in protest at the killings of patients suffering from dementia, citing "a major shift" in the interpretation of her country’s euthanasia law to endorse lethal injections for increasing numbers of dementia patients.

Killed with a good prognosis

Meanwhile, in Belgium, Joris Vandenberghe, a psychiatrist at the University of Leuven, is calling for stricter controls. He complained last year that psychiatric patients have died at the hands of doctors who failed to meet criteria set forth in Belgian law: "I’m convinced that in Belgium, people have died where there were still treatment options and where there was still a chance for years and even decades of life."

A "duty to die"

"Vulnerable people can be bullied into assisted suicide," wrote Wesley Smith, for The Telegraph. Mr Smith refers to the case of Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup, who were told that their medical insurance would not pay for cancer treatment, but would cover assisted suicide. "The Oregon experiment shows how easily the "right to die" can become a"duty to die" for vulnerable and depressed people fearful of becoming a burden on the state or their relatives. I know that a powerful and emotive campaign is being waged in the UK media."

The Delaware Bill comes in the light of these developments.


News in brief:

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