Focus Point - Legal Euthanasia

Commentary by

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The Dutch parliament recently passed a bill allowing doctors to carry out euthanasia. They built in a number of safeguards.

It still looks like the first step on a slippery slope to me.

I don't doubt suffering, terminally ill people kill themselves. And I don't doubt some doctors have helped them, either by action or inaction. And while this may sound like a double standard, or at least like the weasel's way out, there's a great gulf fixed between that and the state giving doctors permission to kill people. Again, the law has plenty of safeguards. I don't doubt -- at first -- they'll be rigorously applied. But how long will it be before a relative's word a patient wants to die will be as good as the patient's? Or before a doctor assumes he knew a patient wanted to end it? Or, at the far end of the awfulness scale, before the state does?

Call me paranoid, it's a question I'd never want answered here.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, next time, the Phony Digital Divide.