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Countering Euthanasia – A Remarkable Tool

Editor   |   October 13, 1997

Many of our readers have probably been to more seminars than they care to remember. Typically, when attending one, we will leave it thinking that one or maybe two of the lectures were truly valuable, that some were okay, and a few were quite soporific. Having experienced the above, we were profoundly impressed with the depth and expertise presented at a two-day seminar held at the Columbus School of Law in Washington, DC.

Entitled Life At Risk – A Closer Look At Assisted Suicide, it’s two days of professional expertise explored legal, medical, ethical and policy concerns about physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Alternative solutions to the problems of seriously ill patients and their families were presented at length. Historical aspects, such as the German Euthanasia Program and the current Dutch experience, were also presented. Areas such as modern pain control, and other aspects of compassionate medical care, were fully explained.

Internationally known speakers included Alexander Capron, Robert Joyce George, Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, Dr. Carlos Gomez, Dr. Herbert Hendin, and Dr. Ira Byock, as well as Dr. Hank Jochemsen and Zbigniew Zylicz from Holland, John McKuen from Cambridge University and Rabbi David Novak from University of Toronto. Mary Jane Owen and others spoke for Persons With Disabilities. Others included Dr. Harold Koenig from Duke, Steven Carter from Yale and Kathleen Caveny from University of Notre Dame Law School.

Presented just prior to the US Supreme Court decision on Assisted Suicide, it presented a clear picture of the pro-life arguments against euthanasia and assisted suicide that were to be mirrored in that decision.

The court has ruled that there is no federal constitutional right to assisted suicide, and the issue has been sent back to the states. The first major battle looms on November 4 in a repeat of the Oregon Initiative Referendum. The battle will continue in state General Assemblies and in state courts.

There is much to do. Our readers must continue to update themselves and be thoroughly informed on this issue.

(Ed. note: obsolete contact information has been removed from this post.)

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