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Assisted suicide is not a progressive issue

by Matthew Jansen, Pundit, 20 January 2016

Last year Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, asked “So who wants assisted suicide?”

In Oregon, the poster child for New Zealand advocates of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the statistics after 17 years of the Death With Dignity Act are emphatic:

White                                                                     97.1%
Bachelor degree or higher                                  45.9%
Private medical insurance                                  60.2%
Concerned about being “less able to
engage in activities making life enjoyable”       88.7%

That is, the people who are doing the choosing are disproportionately white, wealthy, and well-educated. Having had a good life they want control of how they would face a terminal illness.

Fair enough, you might think, but who pays the price for their ‘choice’?

People like 64-year-old Barbara Wagner, who received a letter from the Oregon state health insurer helpfully advising her that they wouldn’t pay for the chemotherapy drugs she needed, but they would pay $50 for her assisted suicide.

And let’s not forget that the general suicide rate in Oregon has been increasing since 2000, and at last count was 41% above the United States average. That’s a fair warning that when you assist suicide for one group, you are endorsing it as an appropriate response to suffering for everybody.

The Guardian columnist Giles Fraser recently wrote “let us not pretend that this ‘personal choice’ is unaffected by wider economic realities.”

“by eroding the long-term mutual obligations we have to each other, in sickness and in health, we have arrived at the existential equivalent of a zero-hours contract with life, a contract that can be terminated at will.”

Euthanasia and assisted suicide – or whatever your euphemism of choice – is not a progressive issue.

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