Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder

Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder

by Wesley J. Smith
     
 

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Smith, an attorney and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, exposes the attempts by the assisted suicide movement to strip the sick and disabled of their dignity. This edition is revised and updated to reflect changes in the movement and in the law since the first edition was published six years ago. Annotation ©2003… See more details below

Overview

Smith, an attorney and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, exposes the attempts by the assisted suicide movement to strip the sick and disabled of their dignity. This edition is revised and updated to reflect changes in the movement and in the law since the first edition was published six years ago. Annotation ©2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Lawyer and anti-euthanasia advocate Smith (The Senior Citizens' Handbook) takes a strong position against assisted suicide in this study. He bases his opposition to "mercy killing," as advocated by the Hemlock Society and as practiced by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, on the growing acceptance of assisted suicide, which in turn, he claims, has led to unnecessary deaths of those who suffer from inadequate medical care and depression. Drawing on research from the Netherlands, where assisted suicide is legal, Smith demonstrates that euthanasia is on the rise and is practiced on not only the terminally ill, but on the chronically ill and disabled as well. He predicts that the emphasis on cutting costs by profit-driven, managed-care plans in the U. S. will result in a policy of killing those requiring long-term care if assisted suicide becomes legal. Despite his strong feelings, Smith rarely lapses into polemic and presents viable alternatives for seriously ill patients, such as adequate pain management and quality hospice care. He convincingly argues that withdrawing a patient from feeding tubes leads to an agonizing death from dehydration.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lawyer and anti-euthanasia advocate Smith (The Senior Citizens' Handbook) takes a strong position against assisted suicide in this study. He bases his opposition to "mercy killing," as advocated by the Hemlock Society and as practiced by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, on the growing acceptance of assisted suicide, which in turn, he claims, has led to unnecessary deaths of those who suffer from inadequate medical care and depression. Drawing on research from the Netherlands, where assisted suicide is legal, Smith demonstrates that euthanasia is on the rise and is practiced on not only the terminally ill, but on the chronically ill and disabled as well. He predicts that the emphasis on cutting costs by profit-driven, managed-care plans in the U. S. will result in a policy of killing those requiring long-term care if assisted suicide becomes legal. Despite his strong feelings, Smith rarely lapses into polemic and presents viable alternatives for seriously ill patients, such as adequate pain management and quality hospice care. He convincingly argues that withdrawing a patient from feeding tubes leads to an agonizing death from dehydration. Author tour. (June)
Library Journal
Suicide isn't what it's cracked up to be, according to lawyer and consumer advocate Smith, who condemns the increasing public acceptance of all forms of suicide and euthanasia when ultimately inadequate medical care and an impersonal healthcare system are at fault. Above all, he fears that euthanasia will eventually become a legally enforceable right to kill. Not one to mince words, he calls proponents of the right-to-die movement "death fundamentalists" and warns against the degeneration of essential human values. Instead of legitimized euthanasia, Smith would like to see public policies designed to offer care to the clinically depressed and the terminally ill. At times emotional and rambling, his book nonetheless offers valuable insights into the consequences of condoned death.Mary Hemmings, Univ. of Calgary Lib., Alberta
Kirkus Reviews
An anti-euthanasia activist blasts the right-to-die forces, calling their goal "a social experiment that will lead to cultural and ethical catastrophe."

As the attorney for the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force, Smith appears frequently on radio and television to argue against what he calls "the death culture." Opponents of assisted suicide—Smith uses the terms "assisted suicide" and "euthanasia" interchangeably—will find this a valuable debating manual, for it presents the most common pro-euthanasia arguments and then provides considered responses to them. Noting similarities between today's euthanasia movement and the one that flourished in Germany earlier in this century (despite the compassion that motivates contemporary supporters), and citing the results of what he refers to as "death on demand" in the Netherlands, he warns that granting the right to die to the terminally ill will soon be followed by legal killing of the disabled, the chronically ill, and even the depressed. Smith looks at the defeat of referendums to legalize euthanasia in Washington State and California, and examines weaknesses in the safeguards against abuse included in a similar Oregon referendum that narrowly passed but is now tied up in the courts. HMOs, with their emphasis on controlling costs by limiting services, and euthanasia are a deadly combination, he says, predicting that "the day doctors are legally allowed to kill patients, Wall Street investors in for-profit HMOs will be dancing in the streets." A phrase-maker of no mean talent, Smith titles his last chapter "Hospice or Hemlock: The Choice is Ours." In it he argues that we must create a culture of compassion that empowers the disabled, sees every patient as valuable, and provides end-of-life care to the dying.

Powerful arguments from a passionate, articulate, sometimes strident spokesman.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812927900
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/27/1997
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.41(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.20(d)

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