Making Death More Palatable

Try these descriptive phrases on for size. Euthanasia, assisted suicide, right to die and death with dignity. All describe the same thing but each one seems somehow a more “humane” description than its predecessor. Of course, all describe the process by which someone dies with the overt assistance of someone else.

This has long been a troubling topic for me, well before the growing push for its legalization. I suppose my thoughts  hark back to a video series I saw in the early 80’s, put together by the late Francis Schaffer. Euthanasia was not the only subject addressed but it was the one that seemed most chilling to me. Those feelings have never really departed and they return almost every time I am reminded of the issue  by various media outlets.

The “movement” if that is accurate seems most active on the  west coast, i.e. Washington and California. Douglas LeBlanc wrote  an excellent post on the  topic on Get Religion on May 8 and articulated many of my thoughts. He used  phrases such as “the breezy dismissal of moral concerns” by some advocates, a thought that really resonates with me.

He wrote  of an advocacy group in Washington called Compassion and Choices, headed by Robb Miller. The group says that through 2008, some 41 people in Oregon and 3 in Washington have legally obtained prescriptions allowing  them to facilitate their own demise. Predictably the American Medical Association opposes the group’s efforts and the law that these 44 people  used I would think that virtually all physicians would have difficulty with any type of assisted suicide. How does it square with the Hippocratic oath’s admonition to first do no harm? Don’t know, I’m afraid.

It just seems to me that  if the “death with dignity”  movement gets momentum and maybe even gets a law passed ensuring a” right to die”, still another manufactured right would have  appeared from thin air.

Questions for me at least, multiply. Who has the ultimate right to decide who dies? The sufferer, the physician , the family. the state? Can you say, rationing of health care? Or perhaps, get rid of the old, they are useless?This is no doubt a troubling issue and I fear that it isn’t  going away.


May 11, 2009 - Posted by | Life and Death | , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] Making Death More Palatable for taking this reflection ahead.) […]

    Pingback by Linda Fleming Becomes the First Person in Washington State to die under the Assisted Suicide Law « Anand News Cafe | May 24, 2009 | Reply

  2. A thought-provoking post. Thanks. I’ve provided a link to your post from mine. I hope it’s fine:)

    Warm Regards,

    Comment by anandnewscafe | May 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the link and the comment. I am just afraid that this kind of movement will take our society down paths we cannot anticipate.

      Comment by tarheeltalker | May 24, 2009 | Reply

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