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Tuesday, 03 December 2013 17:45

SF Gate: How to Win the Assisted Suicide Debate

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SF Gate - 11/26/13 - Debra J. Saunders

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams wants to kill Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Ted's widow. He also wants to kill my husband, author and anti-assisted-suicide activist Wesley J. Smith, and me because I, too, oppose assisted suicide.

"If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your f- guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out. I won't do that, because I fear the consequences," Adams blogged Saturday as his 86-year-old father approached "possibly months" of "living Hell" ending in a bad death.

And: "I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too."

Adams later added that his father died a few hours after the post. In his rage, perhaps, he turned to intimidation over the more arduous task of persuading people with different beliefs.

When Adams returned my call, he told me that he probably doesn't want me to die. Oh, but you do, I responded. I've written against assisted suicide. "I would put you in that category," he conceded. "You are part of the problem."

Victoria Kennedy wrote that a 2012 Massachusetts ballot measure to legalize assisted suicide was bad policy because it was "harsh and extreme." I ask: Would the world be better off without her, too?

"Yes, I think she's part of the bad guys," Adams reluctantly replied. Opponents of assisted suicide are responsible for the "torture" of his father.

"If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago," Adams wrote. That's the America-treats-pets-better-than-people argument for euthanasia. Yes, families put down cherished pets after much anguish, but also, according to the Humane Society, shelters put down 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats every year.

Adams rejected my analogy about his analogy. He sees an enlightened system where doctors put down the parents of doting adult children - only at the last minute. It works well elsewhere, he added.

The Dutch legalized physician-assisted suicide in 2002; last year, euthanasia accounted for 3 percent of Dutch deaths. There was a 13 percent bump after mobile units could be dispatched to homes where family physicians refused to kill patients. So much for safeguards - like the patient's own doctor having to approve. Advocates use safeguards to argue that a practice will not be abused; then they whittle away at them.

I believe in safeguards too: Liberal pain control and directives that allow sick people to stipulate which procedures they do not want. Love.

I tell Adams I fear that if we legalize assisted suicide, overworked providers will eliminate inconvenient people, just as shelters dispatch unwanted cats. He knows it could happen. He argued that "good things" - hospitals and police - come with risks.

Me, I don't want to live in a world where one group of people decides when another group should die. For that, Adams wants me to die a horrible death. Once death becomes the solution for one condition, it becomes a remedy for others.

Debra J. Saunders is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. E-mail: dsaunders@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @DebraJSaunders

Full article here, at SFGate.com

Last modified on Monday, 21 September 2015 07:31

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We Oppose Assisted Suicide

  • Access to Independence – San Diego
  • American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today – Northern California (ADAPT)
  • American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today – Southern California (ADAPT)
  • Alliance of Catholic Healthcare
  • American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME)
  • American College of Physicians – American Society of Internal Medicine
  • American College of Pediatricians
  • American Medical Association
  • American Nursing Association
  • Association of Northern California Oncologists (ANCO)
  • Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
  • Berkeley Commission on Disability
  • California Catholic Conference
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  • California Family Alliance
  • California Family Council
  • California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)
  • California Latino Medical Association
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  • California State Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Californians for Disability Rights (CDR)
  • Catholics for the Common Good
  • Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID)
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  • Crusade for Life
  • De La Salle Institute
  • Disability Rights Center
  • Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
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  • Disability Section of the American Public Health Association
  • FREED, Center for Independent Living
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  • Independent Living Center of Southern California (ILCSC)
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  • Independent Living Services of Northern California (ILSNC)
  • International Life Services
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  • Justice for All (JFA)
  • La Raza Roundtable of Santa Clara County
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • Life Priority Network
  • Life Legal Defense Foundation
  • Medical Oncology Association of Southern California (MOASC)
  • National Council on Disability
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  • Oakland Mayors Commission on Human Relations
  • Patients Rights Council
  • Physicians for Compassionate Care
  • Placer Independent Resource Services, Inc.
  • Pro-Life America
  • Right to Life League of Southern California
  • San Mateo County, CA
  • Scholl Institute of Bioethics
  • Second Thoughts, People Living with Disabilities Opposing Assisted Suicide
  • Southern California Cancer Pain Initiative
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  • The Oaks Group
  • West Coast Pro Life
  • Western Service Workers Association
  • World Association of Persons with Disabilities (WAPD)