Right to Life believes this article below, which is from the US Atlantic Magazine, raises crucial issues. The spectre of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia has been raising it’s head here in New Zealand too and unless it is fought and defeated dire consequences for our society could await us not too far down the road.
In physician-assisted suicide a doctor supplies a death-causing means, such as barbiturates, but the patient performs the act that brings about death. In voluntary euthanasia the physician performs the death-causing act after determining that the patient indeed wishes to end his or her life. Neither term applies to a patient’s refusal of life-support technology, such as a respirator or artificial nutrition, or a patient’s request that it be withdrawn; these have had ethical and constitutional sanction nationwide for years. And neither term applies to what is sometimes called indirect euthanasia, when the administration of drugs primarily for pain relief may have the secondary effect of causing death, as the physician is well aware. This practice, too, is ethically and legally sanctioned.