This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director on March 13, 2015

This month marks ten years since the death of Terri Schiavo, the tragic and now infamous case of a government mandated feeding tube removal that resulted in her dehydration and death.

Doctors are increasingly engaging in the act of killing—often willfully and sometimes coercively. To mark the ten-year anniversary of Schiavo’s death, we’re focusing This Week in Bioethics on the tragic yet ever-growing use of medicine to aid dying.

CBC has and will remain staunchly opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia. You can read our full position statement on the issue at our website: “Why the CBC Opposes Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia”

1. Wesley J. Smith on “The Great Terri Schiavo Divide”

Writing in First Things, our friend Wesley Smith takes a look back on how politics perverted good medicine in the decision to remove Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube—and what this means for our future.

2. Jeb Bush’s Efforts to Save Terri Schiavo

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, reexamines then Governor Jeb Bush’s efforts to save Terri and vindicates his legal authority to do so.

3. Improving the Physician Assisted Suicide Debate

As the movement for physician assisted suicide continues to grow (the Wall Street Journal recently reported that 26 U.S. states would consider legislation this year), John Keown offers some important insight on how we can improve our political discourse on the topic. A worthwhile read—particularly for his take down of the often-recited argument that respect for autonomy means a right to assistance in dying.

4. One in Five Dutch Doctors Would Help Physically Healthy Patients Die

Eighteen percent of Dutch doctors would consider helping a physically healthy patient die if they’ve simply grown tired of living, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. As the Guardian reports, the Netherlands has some of the most liberal physician assisted suicide laws in the world. This study should serve as a warning sign for those that advocate that physician assisted suicide can be properly regulated to cases of severe physical suffering and during the final stages of life. As the Netherlands now evidences, once the practice is legalized, the floodgates are opened.

5. Canada’s Decision to Legalize Physician Suicide is Part of Larger International Effort

In a recent essay in Public Discourse, Ashton Ellis observes how Canada’s Supreme Court has declared a right to physician assisted suicide, effectively bypassing the legislative process. Such a move is part of a growing international effort to establish a right to physician assisted suicide, as we’re witnessing all too close to home here in the United States.

This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by Matthew Eppinette

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