domingo, 16 de octubre de 2016

BioEdge: Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu backs assisted suicide in District of Columbia

BioEdge: Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu backs assisted suicide in District of Columbia

Bioedge

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu backs assisted suicide in District of Columbia
     
Overlooked in the ghastly spectacle of America’s I-can-dig-up-more-dirt-than-you-can election is a campaign in Washington DC to legalise assisted suicide. The issue goes to a vote on Monday in a full meeting of the District of Columbia Council.

Supporters of the measure have scored a public relations coup by enlisting Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a hero of the struggle against apartheid, Desmond Tutu, who is also an Anglican archbishop. Although Tutu reversed his opposition to aid-in-dying in 2014, he declined at the time to say whether he would take advantage of it himself.

Now, just ahead of the vote in the Council, he has published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he urges voters to legalise assisted suicide, as Canada and California have already done. His essay has been reinforced with a YouTube video made by the assisted suicide lobby group Compassion & Choices.

C&C has recruited a number of prominent clerics, although their Christianity tends to be unconventional. One, for instance, is Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong, who dissents from mainstream Christian beliefs like the existence of God. There seems to be significant level of support within the Anglican Church for assisted suicide. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has declared that it would be “profoundly Christian and moral”. Tutu says in his op-ed:

“I believe in the sanctity of life. I know that we will all die and that death is a part of life. Terminally ill people have control over their lives, so why should they be refused control over their deaths? Why are so many instead forced to endure terrible pain and suffering against their wishes?”
This argument is a bit odd, as “terrible pain and suffering” do not play a major role in decisions to request assisted suicide. In the latest statistics from Oregon, the main reason (96%) was “Less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable”. “Inadequate pain control or concern about it” was only cited by 29%.
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In the 19th Century a statue of Tanonius Marcellinus, consul of Campania (now the region around Naples) was unearthed in the town of Benevento. It bore a remarkable inscription, one which may be unique in the history of Western Civilization. It described him as a “most worthy patron, on account of the good deeds which rescued the population from endless boredom”.
Boredom -- taedium in Latin -- will soon be a reason to be euthanised in the Netherlands, as we report below. Of course it won’t be a spur of the moment decision. There will be a bit of boring paperwork to fill out first and some boring interviews to be endured, but in the end you get your needle.
It’s hard to understand why Dutch politicians think that this is a good thing. The worthy consul Tanonius Marcellinus was memorialized for rescuing his people from boredom with good deeds, not with lethal injections. Isn’t that the proper role of governments: to foster a society in which people feel glad to be alive? 


Michael Cook
Editor
BioEdge

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