Homeold“There will be casualties”: Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide advocate Phillip Nitschke says

“There will be casualties”: Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide advocate Phillip Nitschke says

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Editor’s Note: The following appeared over the weekend on the website of True Dignity Vermont: Vermont Citizens Against Assisted Suicide. The article then provides a link to an article by David Penberthy, published in an Australian newspaper, which is tentatively supportive of euthanasia and assisted suicide under certain circumstances. Vermont recently enacted legislation that has been described as the most dangerous assisted suicide bill in the United States.

True Dignity vehemently rejects the assertion that there is ever a “need” for the legalisation of assisted suicide or euthanasia. The link is provided for the sake of including a quote from Dr. Phillip Nitschke, the most prominent advocate of assisted suicide and euthanasia in Australia. Nitschke’s comment serves to illustrate a point that we believe we began to perceive towards the end of the debate preceding the legalisation of assisted suicide in Vermont.

Nitschke posited that while there would undoubtedly be some casualties, this had to be weighed against the growing number of older people who derived immense benefit from having access to this information.

The term “casualties” is acceptable in this context. One might therefore inquire whether the Vermont legislators’ decision to proceed with the legalisation of assisted suicide was influenced by the warnings issued by doctors, ethicists, and lawyers that there would be casualties. The aforementioned experts and individuals with experience have indicated that the legalisation of assisted suicide will result in a number of unintended consequences. These include the potential for suicidal individuals without terminal disease to learn that their state views suicide as an acceptable solution to certain problems. Furthermore, individuals with disabilities may perceive their lives to be devalued as “undignified”, which could lead to a reduction in the services they require to survive. Those whose illnesses could have been treated or who were never terminal, who might have lived for years; the impoverished, who, like at least two individuals in Oregon, are likely to be denied state insurance coverage for treatment on the basis that it does not promise a certain statistical life expectancy while being offered assisted suicide coverage; and those who obtain the prescription for “peace of mind” and are subsequently left unprotected from caretaker abuse, including murder.

During the debate on the night the Vermont House passed the assisted suicide law, Representative Duncan Kilmartin inquired of Representative Sandy Haas, the bill’s floor manager, whether the legislation included provisions to prevent homicide once the patient had filled the prescription. She proceeded to ramble. Kilmartin interjected, stating that Haas was not answering his question. Speaker Shap Smith, an advocate of assisted suicide, admonished him for his disruptive behavior and instructed him to allow Representative Sandy Haas to respond to the question. She proceeded to ramble further, eventually stating that the affected individuals would be terminally ill. Indeed, this was the only substantial response she provided.

We request a response from Sandy Haas and the other proponents of the Vermont law. It would appear that those in favour of the Vermont law are still denying that there will be any casualties. This is despite Nitschke readily admitting that there will be. Or, as we are beginning to suspect, do they consider such “casualties” an acceptable price to pay for the “peace of mind” they say some people will feel from having the “choice” at life’s end to commit suicide by prescription (www.patientchoices.org; see first video “Governor Shumlin Signs End of Life Bill, May 20 2013”)?

It can be posited that those who advocate for the termination of life among the terminally ill may be more willing to accept the loss of life among the healthy population. It can be argued that a certain number of murders of dying people may be considered acceptable in the name of “choice”. This is because, by definition, murder is an unchosen death. If this is indeed the case, it would be beneficial to ascertain the number of murders that would be considered acceptable.

We extend an invitation to legislators who voted in favour of the Vermont law, or to others who favour assisted suicide and/or euthanasia, to provide responses to the aforementioned questions. A multitude of responses were received in response to the article, with the majority expressing support for euthanasia. Not a single response addressed the question of “casualties.”

It is curious to speculate as to the reason for this phenomenon.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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