On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals will hear Myers v. Schneiderman, a renewed attempt to legalize physician-assisted suicide in New York. The plaintiffs are three patients, two of whom have since died, several physicians and End of Life Choices New York, a non-profit agency that provides counseling for patients requesting assistance in ending their lives.
There is the infamous case earlier this year in the Netherlands of the elderly woman who decided not to be euthanized; the physician had to restrain her – with the aid of the patient’s family – in order to complete the euthanasia procedure. This indicates that once legalized, physician-assisted suicide becomes the inevitable first step to active euthanasia. In the words of one jurist, “the legal machinery initially designed to kill those who are a nuisance to themselves may someday engulf those who are a nuisance to others.”
The bizarre notion of a right to die – a right that everyone will eventually exercise – will be seen by tired, confused and pressured patients as a “duty to die.”