One of the myths about the assisted suicide movement is that it “only” wants “terminally ill people for whom nothing else can be done to alleviate suffering” to have a “right to die with dignity.” That is a false premise, but beside that point, it is a blatant bait and switch sales pitch. In reality, the assisted suicide-euthanasia movement believes that it is the “ultimate civil liberty” to choose one’s own “time, manner, and place of death,” and one should add for accuracy; reason.

The other day I pointed out how broadly Canada’s new assisted suicide/euthanasia proposal is written, to the point that people in mental pain would be just as qualified to be made dead as a cancer patient. And now Tasmania’s new assisted suicide proposal further illustrates the point. While not as wide open as Canada’s, its definition of “terminal illness” is so broad you could drive a hearse through it. From the definitions section of the 2009 Dying with Dignity Act (no link):

Terminal illness: in relation to a sufferer means an illness which, in reasonable medical judgment, will in the normal course, without the application of extraordinary measures or of treatment unacceptable to the sufferer, result in the death of the sufferer.

Pay close attention: First, there is no time factor mentioned and the standard is that one will die—at some point—without the application of treatment. This means that a diabetic who could live years, but who would die without insulin, has a right to assisted suicide. So would someone with asymptomatic HIV infection, an early cancer diagnosis, early kidney disease, heart disease, or other condition that could cause death at some point.

In other words, the definition of terminal illness allows people to obtain assisted suicide even if they are not really dying, or would die only because they do nothing to prevent it.

All of these loosey-goosey definitions and broadly worded death licenses go over the heads of the sympathetic media, of course, who aren’t really interested in the details and too often write off press releases. But I have been thinking lately of the buzzword of the day—transparency. We are told that everything has to be open and above board for all to see. But assisted suicide is practiced in deepest secret and the sales pitch is profoundly disingenuous.

The real question before the house is whether we want euthanasia clinics established to serve anyone with other than a transitory desire to die. That’s the movement’s actual goal. Why should it be allowed to get there through the political necessity of incremental? Let’s discuss what this movement is really all about.

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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