A Right to Assisted Suicide for the Institutionalized Mentally Ill

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(Wesley J. Smith / First Things) – Assisted suicide proponents always promise that facilitated death will be offered solely and strictly to the mentally competent. But once a society accepts the premise of euthanasia—that it is acceptable to eliminate suffering by eliminating the sufferer—there is no way to restrict the putative “right to die” to the mentally healthy.

Mental illness often causes greater anguish than any physical disease and, indeed, for a far longer time. Thus, no one should be surprised that euthanasia of the mentally ill is a growing phenomenon in the Netherlands, where the practice has even been boosted by psychiatric journals, and in Belgium. In the latter country, doctors now condone the medicalized killing of mentally ill people with consensual organ harvesting!

Whenever I warn that the same progression will eventually happen here if assisted suicide becomes normalized, supporters of doctor-facilitated death sniff that America is different. But that assurance has already proved empty. CONTINUE