The absurd logic of assisted suicide

Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In his National Post column, Andrew Coyne gets to the heart of the assisted suicide absurdity when commenting on the report of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying

Coyne, a National Post colunmist and the former editor of the paper begins his article by asking:

When dispatching a patient by lethal injection, would a doctor be obliged to sterilize the needle?

Coyne continues:

That’s the thing about normalizing suicide. It requires us to set aside all prior assumptions except the most absurd ones. It rushes past all sorts of distinctions that might once have seemed important — between killing yourself and killing someone else, for example — yet clutches wildly at others, as if they were any more likely to withstand the momentum of its logic. 
Here is what I imagine most people think assisted suicide — let us call it what it is, rather than the gentler euphemisms — is about. A patient is in the last stages of an incurable disease. Death is a certainty, but not so swift as to spare the patient unbearable torment — if not now, then in future. Suicide seems the only way out. 
And yet the patient is physically incapable of killing himself — or if he is not now, fears he will be in the future. To insist, nevertheless, that he must perform the act himself will seem to many people an obtuse tyranny. By allowing others to kill him at his request we are only ensuring his choice is real. We are only sparing him unspeakable pain. We are only hastening the inevitable. 
That, as I say, is how most people think of the issue. It is how it is typically presented in the press. An adult, of sound mind, in unendurable physical pain, having made his wishes abundantly and repeatedly clear, agrees to his own execution.

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