This article was published by the Prince Arthur Herald on May 7, 2015.
By Professor Ian Dowbiggin
I applaud the Prince Arthur Herald for publishing Stuart Chambers’s attack on me and all others who oppose the legalization of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) or mercy-killing. The PAH’s commitment to open debate is admirable and should serve as a beacon to other media outlets in a day and age when it is more important than ever to speak clearly and concretely about the circumstances surrounding end-of-life care in today’s society.
Too often, the debate has been dominated by heart-rending, human-interest stories in the mainstream media about people in pain. What has been missing is plain talk and clear language.
I should know. I have spent the last fifteen years studying and publishing on the history of the euthanasia movement. That history includes the story of now-defunct organizations which paved the way for today’s Compassion and Choices, the leading North American group in favor of permitting assisted suicide. So Chambers’s attack on me is something I’m used to.
He is right about one thing: Based on my empirical studies, I have occasionally warned that, if our courts and other interest groups get their way, Canada will soon embrace the belief that some lives are not as valuable as others. Put another way: that some lives are more worthy of death than others.
One thing I have learned is that, historically speaking, the most vocal advocates of assisted suicide and other forms of euthanasia would not be happy until they could get society to accept the killing of people with a wide range of disabilities, with or without their consent.