Assisted suicide...



Anne-Grace Scheinin attempted suicide several times. Then, upon experiencing the grief and pain caused by her own mother's suicide, she abandoned any idea of killing herself and wrote in NEWSWEEK in 1983:

Suicide is not a normal death. It is tragic beyond the most shattering experiences, and the ultimate form of abandonment. There is no fate on which to place the blame. It rests squarely on the victim and the people left behind, many of whom spend the rest of their lives wondering, never knowing, if there was anything they could have done to prevent such a tragedy.

I can agree with the above since my mother committed suicide. I found out later that 95 percent of people who commit suicide are angry at their families and wish to punish them. (SW)


In January 1986, the Hemlock Society published a model bill. This is the model for bills being introduced in several states entitled "Humane and Dignified Death Act".

This bill would require a physician to assist his terminally ill patient's request for "aid in dying." Those favoring euthanasia are hard at work promoting such legislation concerning euthanasia, suicide and assisted-suicide.

Following are a few of the premises of assisted suicide contained on the model bills being introduced all over the country:

"..a private experience"

The Premise:

Certain persons ought to have the right to kill themselves since suicide harms no one else.


Suicide not only has devastating effects on the victim's family, but it can create an adverse impact on our teens who are making suicide pacts in alarming numbers. Our older citizens, too, are aware of a growing 'duty to die" attitude in our society.

..death with dignity"

The Premise:

The lives of the handicapped, the terminally ill, the victjms of Alzheimers Disease and the chronically depressed are not meaningful because they are dependent on others for basic means of support.


These people are in need of LIFE with dignity - not death! As a society we must affirm the value and dignity of those in need by providing services, support and love. When we abandon the elderly, the sick and the handicapped, offering only death as a resolution of their needs, we are saying "You are worthless." When someone feels worthless they are stripped of their dignity and their dependency becomes unbearable.


..a humane solution"

The Premise:

'Denial of nutrition may, in the long run, become the only effective way to make certain that a large number of biologically tenacious patients actually die." Daniel Callahan, ethicist.


"Death by dehydration is accompanied by fever, convulsions, retraction of the eyes into their orbits, drying out of the mouth and skin, etc. before death results in a week or so, a cruel and violent death." Yet AMA'S judicial council "has given full support to non-voluntary mercy killing by omission (denying nutrition)." Many euthanasia activists urge that dehydration is inhumane and that a lethal injection is more "caring." Such assisted execution is highly subject to temptation and abuse.

..a rational choice"

The Premise:

"Suicide is a rational choice of one whose quality of life is diminished by the loss of intellectual capacity, physical ability, or freedom from pain." Arthur koestler, A Guide to Self-Deliverance.



An earnest request for assistance at suicide is a cry for help by one in great stress, pain, anguish and weakness. At such a time, thought processes do not function normally - alternatives seem not to exist. At this point, understanding, professional counseling, and medical care must be offered to help the potential suicide victim in recognizing the underlying problems and in alleviating the pain.

...Not sought by the terminally ill


Assisted suicide is sought by the terminally ill to end their lives less painfully.


The majority of Dr Kevorkian's "patients" were not terminally ill but rather either in pain or clinically depressed or both.  Hospice workers tell us that the terminally ill take their time to prepare for death. Execution is a poor treatment for pain or depression.

Sadly, some are determined to kill themselves no matter what services or support family, friends, or society can offer. But, considering all the facts, this handful of people alone have not provided a compelling enough reason for a rational society to legalize assisted self-killing.

In addition, persons asked to assist at suicide are placed under enormous emotional burden, because THEY ARE ASKED TO EXECUTE A FRIEND OR LOVED ONE.


Predictions about assisted suicide and did they come true?

 Legalized assisted-suicide would stifle all chances of successfully identifying and treating potential suicide victims in response to their cry for help.

As said before, assisted suicide victims are typically either in need of better pain management or in need of counseling as found by a study of Dr Kevorkian's patients.

 The aged, senile, seriously ill and handicapped would be at the mercy of a coercive family or public health policies.

In the Netherlands, where assisted suicide has been legal for some years, at least 33 percent were involuntarily terminated by doctors who felt the patient did not have a quality of life

 American society is presently being softened for the leap from "humane mercy killing" to the involuntary elimination of dependent and powerless senile persons.

See the situation in the Netherlands - there is every indication that states where assisted suicide is legal will be in the same situation.

 Even now "suicide manuals" with explicit dosages and methods are being published and offered for general use in this country and abroad. For instance, the Hemlock Society members now freely distribute their "recipes."

Dr Kevorkian also distributed his 'recipes'.

 Once the door is opened, who will be able to differentiate between assisted suicide and murder? The essential components of the doctor-patient relationship will be compromised when the physician becomes the killer, rather than the healer.

In the Netherlands, elderly people often pay to go to doctors in other countries because they do not know whether the medicines given by their own doctors will cure them ... or kill them.  In the USA, there is a growing distrust of medical providers.  The "first do no harm" (in the Hippocratic oath that doctors used to take, is history.


It is important to inform ourselves the realities of suicide and the implications of 'assisted' suicide before it's too late!


From a pamplet by Missouri Citizens for Life



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