THERE IS A PRETENSE in contemporary assisted suicide advocacy that goes something like this: "Aid in dying" (as it is euphemistically called) is merely to be a safety valve, a last resort only available to imminently dying patients for whom nothing else can be done to alleviate suffering.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the founder of the Swiss suicide facilitating organization Dignitas is just about done with pretense. The Sunday Times Magazine (London) reported that Dignitas' founder, Ludwig Minelli, plans to create sort of a Starbucks for suicide: a chain of death centers "to end the lives of people with illnesses and mental conditions such as chronic depression."
Minelli believes that all suicidal people should be given information about the best way to kill themselves, and, according to the Times story, "if they choose to die, they should be helped to do it properly." Dignitas admits to having assisted the suicides of many people who were not terminally ill. As Minelli succinctly put it, "We never say no."
The story about Minelli illuminates a deep ideological belief within the euthanasia movement: that we own our bodies, and thus, determining the time, manner, and method of our own deaths, for whatever reason, is a basic human right.
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