In all the world, assisted dying, whether euthanasia or assisted suicide, is legal in only five countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and, very sadly, the US, where it is legal in Oregon and Washington.
BBC World News recently presented a documentary in two parts in which Liz Carr, a person with disabilities opposed to assisted death in either form, visited all the places listed above, interviewing people on both sides of the issue. At the end of her visit, her mind had not been changed. She found much to fear in legal euthanasia or assisted suicide. She still opposes both and is very glad they are illegal in the UK, where she lives.
True Dignity found most interesting the Luxembourg doctor/parliamentarian who spoke about how even physicians’ facial expressions or other body language can, in the environment of legal euthanasia or assisted suicide, communicate to a sick or dying person that his life is not worth living and that his death would be a relief to everyone. We have always held that no safeguards can be legislated to protect against this very subtle, often unintentional, pressure, and that the heartbreak of feeling unwanted by a whole society is not the kind of thing a patient would communicate to a doctor coldly offering assisted suicide as an end of life choice or that would ever show up on a report like those that purport to show there are absolutely no problems with the Oregon law.
The two episodes are well worth listening to. We hope our legislators take them into consideration and decide to kill Vermont’s assisted suicide bill.
Here are the links: