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Euthanasia Is Not About Ending Uncontrollable Pain

Wesley J. Smith

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The fear-mongering euthanasia movement pushes its solution as a means of preventing an agonizing death in pain that cannot be controlled. It’s all a false pitch. That’s not why it’s actually done.

Rather, existential anguish drives people to seek doctor-administered or prescribed termination. That has been the experience in Oregon. Now too, Canada. From a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

Those who received MAiD [medical aid in dying] tended to be white and relatively affluent and indicated that loss of autonomy was the primary reason for their request.

Other common reasons included the wish to avoid burdening others or losing dignity and the intolerability of not being able to enjoy one’s life.

Few patients cited inadequate control of pain or other symptoms.

These are important issues that need to be addressed through vigorous suicide prevention and other mental health interventions.

But they are not provided. Instead, the desire to die for fear of being a burden or losing autonomy is validated with the lethal jab or the poison pills. And then, that type of death is pushed toward normalization.

Not providing vigorous interventions for existential anguish is like depriving a cancer patient of morphine, and then helping her die because she is in so much pain.

Photo credit: © ArenaCreative — stock.adobe.com.

Cross-posted at The Corner.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.

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autonomyCanadaeuthanasiaMAiDmental healthNew England Journal of MedicineOregonpainsuicide