Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Women's sacrifices, taken to the extreme (Euthanasia)
Baltimore Sun ^ | 12/16/07 | Susan Reimer

Posted on 12/16/2007 1:06:27 PM PST by wagglebee

Christopher Buckley's dark satire Boomsday imagines a Social Security crisis that pits the generations against each other, and a public relations campaign to persuade older Americans to do the "right" thing and check out early. There are even financial incentives and free Botox if you schedule your suicide.

But what if, in such a world, it were the women - the always dutiful women - who felt the pull of responsibility most strongly and signed up first?

That is exactly what Susan Wolf, a bioethicist at the University of Minnesota and an opponent of physician-assisted suicide, fears.

Wolf made her case in a recent The New York Times Magazine article written by Daniel Bergner about the efforts of former Washington Gov. Booth Gardner to pass a physician-assisted suicide law like the one on the books in Oregon.

Women are caretakers of children, parents and husbands, she argued. Aren't they more likely to want to avoid being a burden themselves when they become old or very sick?

Wolf also said women are more likely to acquiesce to the authority of a doctor, who is most often a man.

If assisted suicide were one of the options the doctor presented, as he would be obliged to do if it were legal, wouldn't a woman be unduly influenced toward that choice?

In Bergner's article, Wolf also talked about the literary and cultural traditions of suicides by women, going back to Sophocles' Antigone and Shakespeare's Ophelia.

Wolf was unavailable to elaborate on her theory of the particular vulnerability of women in a society that permits physician-assisted suicide. Her office at Minnesota said she was dealing with a health crisis involving her mother.

But something about this point of view didn't sit right with me, particularly because statistics from the first decade of the Oregon law show that assisted suicides have been split pretty evenly between men and women.

So I pursued it with Dr. Peter Terry, a professor of medicine in pulmonary and critical care at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a member of Hopkins' Berman Bioethics Institute.

"The Oregon statistics don't on the surface suggest that there will be a propensity of overinvolvement by women," he said.

And, he said, "There are relatively good sociologic studies that suggest that women tend to have larger support groups as they age than men.

"The effect of the support group might counter any propensity."

Exactly, I thought. My girlfriends would never let me check out, and they'd make sure I was cared for.

It also occurred to me that, while my mother's generation might have been vulnerable to a suggestion that once her care-giving days were over, she was expendable, I doubt that this generation of women would think that way.

We are the boomers, after all. We think we are the center of the universe.

"I think that is a good point," said Terry, laughing slightly.

Wolf did not limit her fears of vulnerability to women. She expressed concerns for minorities, too. On that point, Terry agrees, and it is fundamental to his opposition to physician-assisted suicide.

"The health care system that we have does not provide equal opportunity to all. The poor and those who aren't able to afford comfortable end-of-life care, because they are suffering, might choose this."

However, Dr. Thomas Finucane, who specializes in geriatrics at Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, agrees with Wolf.

"I think women are more vulnerable," said Finucane, who also is a member of the Berman institute. "Elderly women are more likely to acquiesce to the suggestions of men wearing the cloak of respectability."

And the mere availability of assisted suicide as a medical option, Finucane said, would "poison every single conversation a doc has."

Besides, he said, suicidal thoughts are a function of depression. That means you treat the depression. You don't write a script for a deadly cocktail.

"In both genders, there is strong evidence to suggest that if you are considering suicide, you have major depression, and that's true even if you have advanced cancer."

In his 25 years as a geriatric physician, Finucane said, only one patient has asked that death be expedited.

"And that was a man."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cultureofdeath; euthanasia; moralabsolutes; prolife; worldgonemad
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-73 next last
And the mere availability of assisted suicide as a medical option, Finucane said, would "poison every single conversation a doc has."

Besides, he said, suicidal thoughts are a function of depression. That means you treat the depression. You don't write a script for a deadly cocktail.

"In both genders, there is strong evidence to suggest that if you are considering suicide, you have major depression, and that's true even if you have advanced cancer."

However, the culture of death sees euthanasia as a "duty".

1 posted on 12/16/2007 1:06:29 PM PST by wagglebee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; 8mmMauser

Pro-Life Ping


2 posted on 12/16/2007 1:07:01 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BykrBayb; floriduh voter; Sun; bjs1779; Mr. Silverback

Ping


3 posted on 12/16/2007 1:08:40 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 230FMJ; 49th; 50mm; 69ConvertibleFirebird; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; An American In Dairyland; ..
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee or little jeremiah to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


4 posted on 12/16/2007 1:09:01 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Male suicide rates are higher. I don’t think that ‘encouragement’ would change the tendency.


5 posted on 12/16/2007 1:18:44 PM PST by kinoxi
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: utherdoul

What the hell is wrong with you?


7 posted on 12/16/2007 1:20:22 PM PST by darkangel82 (And the band played on....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
I would anticipate that the rationing of health care in favor of “worthy” elderly patients will accompany euthanasia. No care beyond pain pills for smokers who get cancers, no care for elderly overweight diabetics, and so forth.
8 posted on 12/16/2007 1:21:19 PM PST by JimSEA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

The culture of death is sick.


9 posted on 12/16/2007 1:21:48 PM PST by freekitty ((May the eagles long fly our beautiful and free American sky.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul; BykrBayb; 8mmMauser; floriduh voter; Sun; bjs1779
I’ve worked with plenty of old people who could use a good dose of euthanasia. I don’t think it should be mandatory but I think it should be an option after you reach a certain age. Most of the strain developed economies are facing is from too many seniors.

Sure, I mean look at how well has worked out other times it's been tried./sarcasm off


"This person suffering from hereditary
defects costs the people 60,000
Reichmarks during his lifetime. People,
that is your money. Read 'New People'."

10 posted on 12/16/2007 1:25:18 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Hey from what I’ve seen I think I’d welcome euthanaisa if I got older 60 ... the last thing I want to be doing is eating stale mashed potatos from meals on wheels and waiting for my grandchildren to remember me. Death would be preferable.


11 posted on 12/16/2007 1:27:06 PM PST by utherdoul
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee; Vom Willemstad K-9; managusta; LikeLight; sure_fine; OAKC0N; time4good; Mike32; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic Ping List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to all note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

12 posted on 12/16/2007 1:31:45 PM PST by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul; darkangel82; Admin Moderator; Jim Robinson; Coleus; narses; cpforlife.org; 8mmMauser
Hey from what I’ve seen I think I’d welcome euthanaisa if I got older 60 ... the last thing I want to be doing is eating stale mashed potatos from meals on wheels and waiting for my grandchildren to remember me. Death would be preferable.

Yeah, you're pro-death, we figured that out already. Free Republic is a PRO-LIFE forum, that's probably why your previous post was removed.

Here is a statement on the subject from Jim Robinson in case you were confused about what conservatives stand for:

NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN LIFE

13 posted on 12/16/2007 1:32:38 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul

you are 20 so have plenty of time to learn how valuable even one second of extra life


14 posted on 12/16/2007 1:36:21 PM PST by ari-freedom (Mitt Romney. He may be a liberal but he's the prettiest.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

This will be my last post on the subject. I’m very pro-life when it comes to children and those who can’t protect themselves. However if a rational adult makes a decesion to die, then its their own bussiness, not the bussiness of the state or anyone else except them and god.


15 posted on 12/16/2007 1:36:43 PM PST by utherdoul
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Vom Willemstad K-9

ping


16 posted on 12/16/2007 1:37:24 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
I have known a number of elderly who would probably sign up, both men and women. Certain circumstances can generate a very rational argument for it. The strongest major safeguard generally is religious faith.
17 posted on 12/16/2007 1:37:57 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul
I’m very pro-life when it comes to children and those who can’t protect themselves.

That's commendable, but one either believes in the sanctity of all innocent life or they don't.

18 posted on 12/16/2007 1:40:14 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul

Tell me what you think when you get a bit closer than 20.

I don’t care how old I get, the grim reaper is gonna have to pry each finger from the rail to get me.


19 posted on 12/16/2007 1:40:15 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
The vanguard of the baby boom generation has just reached their early sixties. Over the course of the next twenty years, as the majority of that cohort reaches genuine "old age" with all its infirmities, they will demand and get legalized, physician assisted suicide . . . and will exerise their right to an "early check-out."

Baby boomers have driven every other social and cultural trend of the last fifties years. This will be no exception.

20 posted on 12/16/2007 1:42:11 PM PST by Oratam (")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

As an aside to the euthanasia debate, let me present the horror as it exists today.

Institutional corridors full of aged, mostly mentally incapacitated women in wheelchairs, staring blankly at the painted brick wall opposite them, or sleeping. This is what exists today.

This is NOT to say that euthanasia does anything more than murder such women. Just that we desperately need something better than what we have, not to just argue whether a living death is better than a real death.

Isn’t there something better we can do?

Neither of those alternatives is acceptable. Both of them are so awful it would be worth it to run away while you still could, just so you won’t be trapped in that hideous either-or proposition. Either living death or euthanasia.

That is an intolerable choice.


21 posted on 12/16/2007 1:45:01 PM PST by Popocatapetl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oratam

I fear that you are quite possibly correct. It should also be noted that there is one huge reason for the financial issues that the nation is facing as the Baby Boomers age and that is ABORTION.

When the most selfish generation in the history of mankind made the decision to kill 50 MILLION children, they created a serious crisis for Ponzi schemes like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.


22 posted on 12/16/2007 1:45:44 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Oratam

Experience shows that the people demanding legalized euthanasia aren’t the same people it’s used on.


23 posted on 12/16/2007 1:47:19 PM PST by BykrBayb (In memory of my Friend T'wit, who taught me much. ~ )
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Popocatapetl

The problem is selfishness in society that has allowed people to become indifferent to the fate of their elderly parents, grandparents and relatives.


24 posted on 12/16/2007 1:47:47 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
I firmly believe that euthanasia should remain illegal.

However, there is a reason that no physician has ever been convicted of a crime for administering narcotics or barbiturates to a person in the agonal stage of the end-of-life process.

wagglebee, do you understand why that is, and are you content with it?

25 posted on 12/16/2007 1:48:24 PM PST by Jim Noble (Trails of trouble, roads of battle, paths of victory we shall walk.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oratam

From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of talk out of some who are younger than the boomers to lower the level of medical care for elderly boomers to help us along our way.


26 posted on 12/16/2007 1:50:10 PM PST by GoLightly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: JimSEA

There aren’t even enough pain pills given out today. And lack of pain pills may hasten acceptances of euthenasia. If anything, pain management will consist of a referral to a meditation guru and a packet of suicide pills.


27 posted on 12/16/2007 1:51:54 PM PST by tbw2 (Science fiction with real science - "Humanity's Edge" - on amazon.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul
As far as I can determine, in the current thinking, it would be the decision of the state to determine whose life was "worth living."

This determination would be made by people exercising the same intellectual integrity shown by employees of the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

But beyond this, how is it that the government is determined to be the arbiter of this issue at all?

Only a socialist (communist on training wheels) would even presume that the government had any role at all in the issue (their point: because "we're all paying for it.")

Collectivism is the most profound present-day evil imaginable.

28 posted on 12/16/2007 1:52:55 PM PST by Madame Dufarge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
In Bergner's article, Wolf also talked about the literary and cultural traditions of suicides by women, going back to Sophocles' Antigone and Shakespeare's Ophelia.

does it say anywhere here that, though girls may try to "commit suicide" more often, boys are more successful? that statistically males are more likely to actually complete the act than females?

this is, once again, the same ole pity party for females.

29 posted on 12/16/2007 1:53:11 PM PST by wildwood
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
When the most selfish generation in the history of mankind made the decision to kill 50 MILLION children, they created a serious crisis for Ponzi schemes like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

Think all 50 million abortions are to be laid on the doorstep of boomers? How many boomers were on the court that gave us Roe? Know which current members of SCOTUS are boomers?

30 posted on 12/16/2007 1:56:46 PM PST by GoLightly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: wildwood

Once the gals get help from doctors, you think their “success” rate won’t go up?


31 posted on 12/16/2007 1:58:47 PM PST by GoLightly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
World to end in 30 minutes. Women and minorities hardest hit.

Wolf did not limit her fears of vulnerability to women. She expressed concerns for minorities, too.

32 posted on 12/16/2007 2:04:26 PM PST by DManA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GoLightly

I’m not talking about the leftist judges who allowed it, I’m talking about the selfish women who had the abortions.


33 posted on 12/16/2007 2:08:43 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Jim Noble
However, there is a reason that no physician has ever been convicted of a crime for administering narcotics or barbiturates to a person in the agonal stage of the end-of-life process.

And I think that this comes down to intent, do the doctors intend to relieve pain or cause death? There is a great deal of difference.

34 posted on 12/16/2007 2:10:31 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

However, the culture of death sees euthanasia as a “duty”.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^6

The right to control one’s reproduction has become a **duty**. Just ask any woman about the looks and comments she receives when in a supermarket line with 3, 4 or more children.


35 posted on 12/16/2007 2:14:55 PM PST by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

However, the culture of death sees euthanasia as a "duty".

Just like Islam and suicide bombings. Scary.
36 posted on 12/16/2007 2:15:42 PM PST by G8 Diplomat (Creatures are divided into 6 kingdoms: Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Monera, Protista, & Saudi Arabia)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Physician-assisted suicide

Women and children hardest hit


37 posted on 12/16/2007 2:17:54 PM PST by HangnJudge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wintertime

Good point.


38 posted on 12/16/2007 2:18:07 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
I’m not talking about the leftist judges who allowed it, I’m talking about the selfish women who had the abortions.

If you think the only women that have ever had them were boomers, then by all means, lay all of the abortions on the doorstep of the boomers.

39 posted on 12/16/2007 2:21:42 PM PST by GoLightly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
There is a great deal of difference

Most of the time, yes. Not always.

Double effect is great for college bull sessions and ethics manuals.

Sometimes (and it's rare), the morphine puts an end to an intolerable situation.

I think the compromise of criminal liability with a jury as fact-finder has worked out quite well, and shouldn't be changed.

40 posted on 12/16/2007 2:22:24 PM PST by Jim Noble (Trails of trouble, roads of battle, paths of victory we shall walk.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: wintertime
The right to control one’s reproduction has become a **duty**. Just ask any woman about the looks and comments she receives when in a supermarket line with 3, 4 or more children.

I got those looks back in the 1980's. I think much of it started with the book, "The Population Bomb", published in 1968.

41 posted on 12/16/2007 2:25:51 PM PST by GoLightly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul

“Hey from what I’ve seen I think I’d welcome euthanaisa if I got older 60 ... the last thing I want to be doing is eating stale mashed potatos from meals on wheels and waiting for my grandchildren to remember me. Death would be preferable.”

I’m guessing you are about 22 right now and not likely to get much older if you say these things to people 60 yrs old. In many cultures the elderly are respected and cared for. Evidently not wherever you are from.


42 posted on 12/16/2007 2:30:21 PM PST by driftdiver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: GoLightly

Would you be okay with saying that the nearly 15 million abortions performed from 1973 through say 1980 were almost all baby boomers? And will you acknowledge the substantial drop in child birth rates starting when the baby boomers came of age? All I am trying to do is point out the fact that when a huge generation reproduces at a much lower rate than their parents did that it will have consequences, especially when there are government programs for retirees that are funded by CURRENT taxpayers.


43 posted on 12/16/2007 2:33:04 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
A Buddhist may find this very confusing...
Or just plain wrong minded

By tradition, the elderly and infirm are treated
as revered teachers, who by their physical needs,
teach the young how to love,
by themselves needing physical caring and love

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
takes on a very different meaning

By "removing" the elderly and infirm
The children never learn to unselfishly
give themselves in love

This condemns the young into a life
of selfish desires, and subsequently, suffering

The_Four_Noble_Truths

44 posted on 12/16/2007 2:34:28 PM PST by HangnJudge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HangnJudge

Very true.


45 posted on 12/16/2007 2:36:04 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver

I am 22 and my Dad just died at the age of 62. Despite the the troubles we had in the past, I was over at his place 5-8 hours a day making sure he was all right, along with talking with his doctors, taking him to and from appointments, and doing all his shoping for him. I know what I did is the norm, and I can tell this guy must have a pretty crummy family life if he feels the way he does. I also wonder if he visits his parents or grandparents.


46 posted on 12/16/2007 2:37:43 PM PST by LukeL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
If assisted suicide were one of the options the doctor presented, as he would be obliged to do if it were legal, wouldn't a woman be unduly influenced toward that choice?

When single-payer healthcare gets here, this will be considered a public duty.

And even under our current "private"-but-absolutely-not-free-market scheme, I can see the day when our HMOs will impose the same requirement.

47 posted on 12/16/2007 2:53:16 PM PST by BlazingArizona
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul
Hey from what I’ve seen I think I’d welcome euthanaisa if I got older 60

Th age I am now, as it happens. Everything still works and I still love life. If we had a real free market health system, your own life would be a choice YOU get to make. As it stands now, it will be made for you when someone who is officially accredited determines that your time is up.

48 posted on 12/16/2007 2:59:11 PM PST by BlazingArizona
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: utherdoul
Hey from what I’ve seen I think I’d welcome euthanaisa if I got older 60

From your web page...

I’m 20 years old and I’m majoring in business with a minor in economics.

Hmmm...
From the standpoint of one 50+
60+ is looking better and better

BTW
one marker for a selfish viewpoint
is the ubiquitous use of first person pronouns in speech...

49 posted on 12/16/2007 3:12:09 PM PST by HangnJudge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: HangnJudge

When I was 20 I thought I had all of the answers, now I’m 40 and I finally understand that I don’t even know all of the questions.


50 posted on 12/16/2007 3:30:36 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-73 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson