FORCED EXIT by Wesley J. Smith


The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder
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 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. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8129-2790-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1997


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