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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The slippery slope of assisted suicide

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Assisted-suicide advocate dies" (Nation, Monday) reports, "Right-to-die groups hope the passing of Jack Kevorkian, who assisted in about 130 suicides in the 1990s, will shine the spotlight on the practice they call 'aid in dying.' " So do assisted suicide and euthanasia opponents - because the more evidence is revealed, the more people recognize the injustice and danger of this terrible practice.

Despite supposedly airtight legal safeguards erected around assisted suicide in Europe and the United States, consider the following:

c Patients are being put to death without consent, an estimated 900 annually in the tiny country of the Netherlands, which formally legalized medical killing in 2001.

c Depressed patients are dying without receiving psychiatric evaluation or help.

c Doctors are hiding euthanasia from authorities; in one area, nearly half the cases of euthanasia go unreported.

c A requirement for a second, supposedly objective consultation on assisted suicide in Oregon has been filled by one biased suicide-advocate doctor in 58 of 61 consecutive cases.

c The slippery slope is expanding euthanasia without limit, now including newborns judged to have "no hope of a good quality of life," the nonterminally ill, depressed patients and, if Dutch organized medicine has its way, anyone who is "over the age of 70 and tired of living."

c Palliative care is giving way to cost-efficient medical killing. One Dutch physician explained, "We don't need palliative medicine; we practice euthanasia."

Suicide lobbyists often try to paint opposition as solely religious, claiming that Christians are trying to force their beliefs on everyone - as if everyone except Christians had a First Amendment right to voice their values in the public square. Many Americans see a strong moral imperative in the commandment "Thou shalt not kill." Yet even from a purely pragmatic and evidentiary viewpoint, assisted suicide and euthanasia remain the quickest path to a tragic loss of autonomy and a death without dignity.

JONATHAN IMBODY

Vice President for Government Relations

Christian Medical Association

Ashburn, Va.

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