This article was originally published by Wesley Smith on his blog on May 6.
By Wesley Smith
In California, it is a time of choosing for individuals, families, and the medical sector.
Will doctors prescribe poison to their terminally ill patients, if asked? Will hospitals allow patients to commit suicides on premises?
If asked, will people attend the suicides of their ill loved ones, thus validating their worst fears and becoming morally complicit by their own participation? I have urged an across-the-board policy of “total non-cooperation.” Assisted suicide may be legal, but no one can (yet) be made to participate in it.
Now, a courageous hospital appears on the verge of declaring itself an assisted suicide free zone. From the LA Times story:
Medical leaders at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena voted behind closed doors this week for the facility’s hundreds of doctors and affiliated personnel to opt out of California’s assisted suicide law, which goes into effect June 9.
If the proposed amendment to the hospital’s medical rules is approved by the board of directors this month, Huntington will become one of the largest non-religious medical institutions statewide to turn its back on a law that Gov. Jerry Brown called “a comfort” to anyone “dying in prolonged and excruciating pain.”
Did you catch the columnist’s bias? Data from Oregon, Washington, Netherlands, Belgium, etc., all show that people do not commit assisted suicide due to “prolonged and excruciating pain,” but existential fears about being a burden, losing dignity, etc.
These are crucial issues that demand a compassionate, suicide prevention response from caregivers, cruelly denied to most patients who ask for assisted suicide.
More to the point of total non-cooperation: Assisted suicide isn’t just about the patient who wants to die.
• It is about our individual and collective response to their despair.
• It is about the adverse impact on culture and our view of the importance of human life, reflected in the fall off the vertical moral cliff seen in Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland.
• It is about the impact on other seriously ill patients, struggling with existential terrors who could be dragged down by the suicide taking place down the hall or across the street.
• It is about whether we will surrender to the culture of death or peacefully resist with every ounce of our being.
The culture of death brooks no dissent. This column is intended to ratchet up the pressure on the hospital–because it is secular–to yield to the suicide agenda.
I just hope its board of directors will stay true to medicine’s Hippocratic calling and keep their nerve. Just because something is legal, that doesn’t make it right.