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Robert T. Miller’s entry about Jenni Murray’s suicide pact is indeed worth noticing, but primarily I think because of a point he does not explore. In addition to not wanting to be a burden, Murray groused about not wanting to be burdened by having to care for her aging parents. Publicity material from a documentary about her support for euthanasia described “Jenni” as “angry that, having fought so hard to become liberated and independent, women are now being trapped into caring for dependent parents.” Her answer, of course, is their euthanasia. This is indeed a major reason why, historically, some (although I would hope not all) feminists embrace the legalization of assisted suicide as a women’s issue. Women get “stuck” caring for a family’s elderly and ill, don’t you see, and this interferes with their freedom. Hence, it is better to kill, er, provide death with dignity , to the sick, elderly, and disabled than be burdened with their care. After all, they don’t have lives worth living anyway, and such menial “women’s work” would just drag the good liberationist away from her important career and avocations. Imagine the insidious messages that the elderly, disabled, and indeed all suffering people regardless of health receive from such advocacy. I can think of at least two: first, that there is such a thing as a human burden whose very act of being alive drags down family and society. Second, that killing is an acceptable answer to human suffering. Not coincidentally, the Dutch are apparently experiencing a rash of teenage suicide pacts, which may indicate, Colleen Carroll Campbell, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, writes in this excellent column , that the moral propriety of suicide has now thoroughly poisoned that country’s cultural root system. Meanwhile, and perhaps for the same reasons, Oregon is in a dither about its very high rate of elder suicide, as reported here by the Oregonian .

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