Monday, February 21, 2005

Assisted Suicide Smackdown

Serge at points me to this debate between author Wesley Smith and California legislator Patty Berg regarding assisted suicide. Berg must be feeling like she got hit by a train.

Some classic quotes from Berg:

"Smith and I agree that the hospice is the gold standard of end-of-life care. But medical experts of every persuasion admit that in 5 to 10 percent of cases, even the best comfort care cannot adequately address end-of-life suffering. Shall we simply abandon those whose suffering we cannot relieve?"

Hello Patty. You're the one who wants to abandon them. Berg is advocating that instead of trying to treat pain and depression we merely allow those in pain to end their lives and then suggests that people who want to help these people are abadoning them. Talk about irony.

"The message sent is that society will not abandon its dying, but will honor their choices, their values and convictions, even to their last dying breath."

The message sent is that society will abandon its dying instead of actually treating/caring for them. The message sent is that people who are dying and are in pain are somehow less valuable than others who aren't dying.

The best part of the debate is at the end when Berg basically asserts that Wesley's real opposition to assisted-suicide is because he believes in the "redemptive power of suffering."

His response:

Finally, we see the usual desperate tactic of assisted-suicide advocates who can't win on the facts. They trot out the tired old cliché that their opponent is pushing religion.

Well, Assemblywoman Berg, I have said nothing about religion. Nor do I think suffering is redemptive. I oppose assisted suicide because it is bad medicine and worse public policy, particularly in a milieu of family dysfunction, in which millions have no health insurance and services for the elderly are being ravaged.


Wesley Smith has his own blog. Visit it often. He is probably one of the strongest voices (if not the strongest voice) on embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and assisted suicide.

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