Life and Human Dignity

The Point: When Assisted Suicide Becomes Homicide


John Stonestreet

It’s not about alleviating suffering.

A psychiatrist in Belgium approved the doctor-assisted suicide of a healthy 38-year-old woman diagnosed with Asperger’s. Asperger’s is a mild form of autism.

It’s not a terminal illness. It does not lead to anything that could be considered “unbearable and untreatable suffering.” That’s Belgium’s squishy definition of eligibility for assisted suicide.

As I mentioned on BreakPoint, people with Asperger’s can have difficulty in social situations and restricted interests. But they also exhibit “remarkable focus and persistence,” “attention to detail,” and an aptitude for recognizing patterns.

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel called Asperger’s a possible “big advantage” in places like Silicon Valley. My colleague at the Colson Center who helped me write this commentary exhibits Asperger’s traits that actually help him do his job well.

I will say it over and over: Wherever assisted suicide is permitted, it’s not just the terminally ill who die. It’s the vulnerable among us. And the so-called “right-to-die” inevitably becomes “the duty to die.”

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