Support for assisted suicide drops dramatically depending on wording

By Dave Andrusko

The headline reporting on a Gallup poll is accurate as far as it goes but incomplete– “U.S. Support for Euthanasia Hinges on How It’s Described: Support is at low ebb on the basis of wording that mentions ’suicide.’”

Let’s talk about what the headline highlights. The Gallup graphic is reproduced below and it includes the wording. According to Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ — In the same month that Vermont became the fourth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, a May 2-7 Gallup survey finds 70% of Americans in favor of allowing doctors to hasten a terminally ill patient’s death when the matter is described as allowing doctors to “end the patient’s life by some painless means.” At the same time, far fewer — 51% — support it when the process is described as doctors helping a patient “commit suicide.”

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To her credit, Saad spells out the key differences between the wording in the two questions:

Gallup’s question with the softer description of euthanasia — calling it “ending a patient’s life by some painless means” — also specifies that both the patient and his or her family requested it. The “suicide” version says the patient requests assistance from a doctor, without referencing other family members.

Either way, the question is wrapped in a cocoon of compassion that softens naturally resistance. But there’s much more.

Many/most proponents of assisted suicide eventually come around to acknowledging their true agenda. “Terminally ill” patients is so 1990s-ish.

The issue is not “assisting” someone who is “going to die anyway.” The goal is autonomy—the unfettered right to be assisted in taking your own life for whatever reason you see fit.

There are many rebuttals which we have written about extensively at NRL News Today. And it is not just that “death, once invited in, leaves his muddy bootprints everywhere,” to quote a famous writer. But it is surely true that when the barrier is broken, a floodwater of deaths will rush in.

Autonomy is a sick joke to the Disability Rights Community which understands that its membership is imperiled when this bogus “right” is extend to people who have great difficulty standing up for themselves.

Note as well that there is another extension that comes when assisted suicide is legalized. If we look at Canada, whose Supreme Court gutted the nation’s law against assisted suicide, enormous pressure is already being put on physicians who want no part of what they rightly see as behavior that is radically at odds with a physician’s true mission.

As we have reported, a new policy from the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons not only requires physicians to refer for abortion, it has a second prong: “[Bioethicist Kerry] Bowman said he expects that the new policy will also oblige doctors to make referrals on assisted suicide,” according to the Star newspaper.

It is not even a slight exaggeration to say the public has not begun to think through the ramifications of legalizing assisted suicide.

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