Right to DieCommentary by Pete du Pont
January 22, 1997
Host intro: This month the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether there is a constitutional right to assisted suicide. We'll have to wait until summer to hear their opinion. Commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis has his today.
Should you have the right to instruct doctors to end your life? Two cases before the court challenge state laws that ban assisted suicide.
I'm glad they do. I hope the court agrees.
There's emotional and intellectual weight on the other side's argument. When someone dies should be his own decision. It's not the government's business.
There's just one problem. Look up "slippery slope" in the dictionary. The reference reads "see assisted suicide."
Our creeping indifference to life began with millions of abortions. Assisted suicide is next. Allowing us to appoint our own executioners is only a step away from our executioners deciding on their own when our lives are not worth living.
The backers of assisted suicide claim to protect the quality of life. That's fine as long as one makes the determination for himself. But what happens, after assisted suicide becomes the norm, when that power ever so slowly slips away: to your doctor. To an "impartial medical committee." To the office at health and human services in charge of establishing kind and humane guidelines for determining quality of life.
Suffering is bad. Death can be appalling. Some things could be worse.
Those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: Tomorrow, a journalist apologizes for saying bad things about a politician. Pete du Pont's impressed.