Culture & Ethics
Opening a Door to Assisted Suicide Organ Donors
My first anti-assisted suicide article, in 1993, warned that the practice would lead to conjoining organ donation with euthanasia “as a plumb to society.” That is happening now in Netherlands and Belgium — including people with mental illnesses, no less.
Now, very alarmingly, the United Network for Organ Sharing seems to be opening the door to letting those planning to commit assisted suicide become living organ donors before taking the lethal pills. From its proposed changes to the ethics of living organ donation to allow the terminally ill to participate:
We recommends that individuals with certain fatal diseases be allowed to donate their organs prior to an assisted suicide, but only in those U.S. states where physician assisted suicide is legal and individuals meet the criteria for physician assisted suicide. [Emphasis in the original.]
No! People planning assisted suicide should receive suicide prevention interventions, not implied validation or encouragement to do the lethal deed.
Moreover, there should never be an inducement for the sick and despairing to kill themselves, which this proposal would do if implemented. (And what if the person changed his mind? Indeed, what if he didn’t die as expected?)
If we let the sick and suicidal do this, why not eventually also the healthy and suicidal? Some mental health professionals already assert that a sustained “rational” suicidal desire is akin to a terminal illness.
The paper takes no position on donation after assisted suicide as “outside the scope of this paper.” Trust me, do this, and the latter will soon follow.
Bottom line: We should not look at the suicidal as natural resources. We should never send the insidious message to suicidal people — based on any cause whatsoever — that their death can have greater value than their continued lives.
Image credit: Tama66, via Pixabay.
Cross-posted at The Corner.