Assisted Suicide, Catholic Style

“This is a staged “dialogue” on assisted suicide. Compassion & Choices presents the thesis (assisted suicide should be legal), then Ira Byock comes in with a straw man antithesis (traditional medicine will let you suffer) and then the synthesis: palliative care.

Here’s the dirty little secret: Ira Byock is, himself, a euthanasia advocate.

“That can’t be true!” you say. “Byock directs an institute at a Catholic hospice, and surely a Catholic hospice would not appoint a director who advocates such a thing.” Indeed, it is a mystery why a Catholic institution would put a fox in charge of the hen-house, but that is the case.

Byock and euthanasia proponent Timothy Quill (who infamously wrote about helping a patient kill herself), advocate for “terminal sedation,” that is, sedating the patient and withholding or withdrawing nutrition and hydration. In other words, kill the patient by “allowing” the patient to die of starvation and dehydration. Byock and Quill argued that this would provide a morally acceptable alternative to lethal injections and overdoses.[1] Moreover, Byock would have you think that this terminal sedation is a good death (euthanasia, strictly translated, is “good death”). But euthanasia (much like Utopia) looks better on paper than it does in reality. Death by starvation and dehydration is not a pleasant way to die, and is too easily imposed on a patient.”