Assisted-Suicide Leader Says Eliminate Waiting Periods

By Wesley J. Smith

Funded bounteously by George Soros money and backed by an enthusiastic and generally uncritical media, assisted-suicide advocates push their death agenda with a pack of lies.

First, they promise that protective guidelines will protect against abuse to ensure that only those with no other way to alleviate suffering but to take poison pills receive them — and then, only after a careful process.

Second, to convince cowardly medical associations to cease opposing legalization and assume a position of “studied neutrality”— whatever the hell that means — they promise that doctors will never be forced to participate in assisted suicide.

Here’s the problem. Those promises are not meant to be, you know, permanent. They are expedients to (choose your cliché) get the ball over the goal line, place the foot in the door, wiggle the camel’s nose under the tent, et. cetera.

Once the law is firmly in place, we suddenly are told that the oh, so carefully crafted protective guidelines are actually obstacles to achieving “death with dignity.” And we are told that doctors’ right to refuse participation in suicide — known as medical conscience — discriminates against sick patients. It’s all such a scam.

Here’s the latest example in the ever-assisted suicide friendly New York Times, where “The New Old Age” columnist Paul Span complains:

But while the campaign for aid in dying continues to make gains, supporters are increasingly concerned about what happens after these laws are passed. Many force the dying to navigate an overly complicated process of requests and waiting periods, critics say.

And opt-out provisions — which allow doctors to decline to participate and health care systems to forbid their participation — are restricting access even in some places where aid in dying is legal.

See what I mean?

If you think these complainers are on the fringe of the suicide movement, think again. No less than Kim Callahan, the head of Compassion and Choices, the country’s most influential assisted-suicide advocacy organization (formerly more honestly known as the Hemlock Society), now suggests that waiting periods — one of the most important protective guidelines touted for years by C & C — should be tossed:

“There’s too many roadblocks in the existing legislation,” said Ms. Callinan, whose organization has long promoted that legislation. “They’ve actually made it too difficult for patients to get through the process.”…

Perhaps, Ms. Callinan proposed, aid-in-dying laws shouldn’t require waiting periods. “It takes people a long time to find a first doctor, to make an appointment, to find a second doctor, to find a pharmacist,” she said. “The process itself is a waiting period,” one often exceeding 15 days.

Indeed, the Oregon Legislature just passed a bill waiving the waiting 15-day waiting period if the patient is expected to die imminently.

Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with the author’s permission.