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FTR #141 Interview III with Wesley J. Smith

Lis­ten:
MP3: One seg­ment [1]
RealAu­dio [2]
NB: This stream com­bines a 30 minute broad­cast of FTR 141 and the first 30 min­utes of FTR 152: Update on Ger­many, orig­i­nal­ly aired May, 1999.

This broad­cast is the third of Mr. Emory’s inter­views with Wes­ley J. Smith, the author of Forced Exit: The Slip­pery Slope From Assist­ed Sui­cide to Legal­ized Mur­der [3] (Times Books, copy­right 1997). Focus­ing on Ore­gon’s Propo­si­tion 16 (the first euthana­sia law in the Unit­ed States), Mr. Smith points out how, in prac­tice, the law has already pro­ceed­ed very far down the “slip­pery slope.” Por­trayed as a last-ditch mea­sure to relieve extreme suf­fer­ing of ter­mi­nal­ly-ill patients, who have been in lengthy rela­tion­ships with their attend­ing physi­cian, the law has been used to dis­pose of peo­ple who are depressed and in need of assis­tance in liv­ing. Omi­nous­ly, the Ore­gon law does not require physi­cians to report assist­ed sui­cides, indi­cat­ing that the num­ber of “sui­cides” is prob­a­bly much high­er than report­ed and the abus­es much more fla­grant. Many of the peo­ple who have been dis­patched under the Ore­gon law appear to have been pre­scribed their legal dose by “death lob­by” doc­tors, after a cur­so­ry exam­i­na­tion and rela­tion­ship. In March of 1999, a Berke­ley assem­bly­woman intro­duced a “right-to-die” bill in the Cal­i­for­nia leg­is­la­ture, based on the “sat­is­fac­to­ry” results of the Ore­gon law. The mount­ing num­ber of HMO’s fail­ing for finan­cial rea­sons con­sti­tutes anoth­er fac­tor inclin­ing health care in the direc­tion of killing. Assem­bly­woman Aroner also intro­duced “cap­i­ta­tion” leg­is­la­tion that would incline Cal­i­for­nia HMO’s still fur­ther toward killing, rather than car­ing for patients. The inter­view also reviewed a num­ber of top­ics from pre­vi­ous inter­views with Wes­ley, includ­ing the cat­a­stroph­ic expe­ri­ence with euthana­sia in the Nether­lands and the Ger­man euthana­sia move­ment ear­ly in the 20th cen­tu­ry. The lat­ter led direct­ly to the Third Reich’s exter­mi­na­tion pro­grams. (Record­ed March 14, 1999.)