Tremendous pain and suffering of patients can be saved. The right to die should be a fundamental freedom of each person.
October 3, A Progressive Argument Against the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide The debate over physician-assisted suicide is often portrayed as a battle between social or religious conservatives who oppose the practice and liberals or progressives who support it.
But not everyone fits neatly into this paradigm. Jones, who calls himself a progressive, has just written a book urging liberal supporters of physician-assisted suicide or physician aid in dying, as some supporters call it to rethink their views, at least for now.
Religion and Cultural Bias in the Oregon Physician-Assisted Suicide Debates, published earlier this year by the University of Notre Dame Press, Jones argues that the debate over whether to allow physician aid in dying should wait until the United States guarantees adequate access to health care to all of its citizens.
Jones, who does not in theory oppose physician-assisted suicide, argues that without health insurance terminally ill patients could end up choosing or be pressured into choosing to prematurely end their lives for financial or similar reasons.
Jones, who holds a doctorate in religion from Emory University, is an independent consultant on religion and progressive politics and an affiliated scholar at the Center for American Progress.
He currently serves on the national steering committee for the Religion, Politics and the State Group of the American Academy of Religion and on the national board of FaithfulDemocrats. He is completing a new book, to be published in Julybased on interviews with progressive religious leaders in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism entitled Progressive and Religious: My argument is really a social-justice-oriented argument against the legalization of assisted suicide in our current health care context.
And those last words are really important: I think one important piece may be the number of uninsured Americans that we have in the country. The recent numbers that came out from the U. Census Bureau saw the number of Americans without health insurance rise to What that means — and what I argue — is that legalizing assisted suicide in the context where we have this kind of inequity in our health care system actually puts those who are uninsured at risk for reaching for assisted suicide for a financial necessity or out of some duress.
You can see this situation coming out if you look at the demographics of people who are for and against assisted suicide. The country is fairly evenly divided if you look at Pew polling on this issue.
But I argue that if you start looking underneath the numbers and you look at the poor or at minorities, a different picture emerges. That picture, I think, ought to tell us something — specifically, that those more vulnerable populations who are less likely to have health insurance and large financial resources are also less likely to support physician-assisted suicide.
A group that has been very prominent in these debates is the disability-rights movement. In August there was an article in the Los Angeles Times that cited opposition to assisted suicide coming from an unusual place — the disability-rights movement, which is concerned about people with disabilities being very vulnerable in our current health care context.
So what you are saying, in essence, is that lack of universal health care increases the risk that legalizing physician-assisted suicide will ultimately lead to abuses?
That argument goes like this: That takes out of play your big concern. At that point, should people still have qualms about physician-assisted suicide? Are there still issues that need to be explored, or are we now ready to move on to that? My argument is that [universal health care] ought to be the floor that is in place before we really have this debate.
And at that point I think the argument is moving to a different space. One of the most interesting comments I found was by Dr. He is a very strong advocate for these rights at the end of life in the context of the Netherlands, but when asked about what the U. He said that in the U. And this is from someone who is a staunch advocate for the right to assisted suicide and euthanasia at the end of life.
In your book you take liberals and progressives to task for ignoring the role that religion can play in this discussion. Why do you think the left has excluded religious considerations on an issue like doctor-assisted suicide?
Religious views got dismissed in the debate in a couple of ways that I find really unfortunate. Famously, there was a commercial spot that ran in Oregon during these debates that painted a kind of sinister view of religious dogma.
And that tells you something about what levers the supporters thought they could pull in the debate that made it seem that any sort of entry into the public realm by religion was somehow inappropriate.Physician Assisted Suicide Creates Legal Opportunity for Hidden Elder Abuse.
Elder financial abuse is a documented fact, costing victims an estimated $ billion each year and can serve as a catalyst for other types of elder abuse.
Handbook for Mortals: Hastening Death: Arguments against physician-assisted suicide. Legalizing physician-assisted suicide is a part of the debate about improving end-of-life care.
It can't be seen as a quick and easy way to protect patients from inadequate care arrangements. In many respects physician-assisted suicide raises many of the same ethical and professional issues as euthanasia because in both cases the physician is complicit in the patient's death. There is extensive literature on the physician-assisted suicide debate.
Thus, physician-assisted suicide is preferred to euthanasia in order to lower the possibility of abuse and of ending the lives of patients without their consent and against their wishes. For and against physician-assisted suicide legislation.
Without physician assistance, people may commit suicide in a messy, horrifying, and traumatic way. It would violate doctors' Hippocratic oath.
It demeans the value of human life. It could open the floodgates to non-critical patient suicides and other abuses. Many . Opponents of a ban on physician-assisted suicide continue to raise the issue of its supposed "chilling effect" on pain management, but they carefully avoid reference to the accumulating evidence against this argument in state after state.