Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #32 Part II: The Right to Die Movement

Lis­ten now: Side 1 | Side 2

In Nazi Ger­many, the exter­mi­na­tion pro­grams which result­ed in the hor­rors of Auschwitz began with the “T‑4” euthana­sia pro­gram. The prece­dent that opened the door for state-autho­rized killing and that led to the euthana­sia pro­gram and the exter­mi­na­tion of the Jews and oth­ers was the Knauer case. In the Knauer case, Hitler autho­rized the ter­mi­na­tion of a seri­ous­ly deformed infant at the request of its par­ents. This pro­gram exam­ines the issue of physi­cian-assist­ed sui­cide and the right-to-die move­ment against the back­ground of the Nazi euthana­sia expe­ri­ence. (The Nazi euthana­sia pro­gram and the Nazi racial laws were an out­growth of the inter­na­tion­al eugen­ics move­ment and were strong­ly influ­enced by Amer­i­can eugen­ics think­ing and leg­is­la­tion.) In addi­tion to exam­in­ing the pend­ing legal deci­sions con­cern­ing physi­cian assist­ed sui­cide and the views of Dr. Tim­o­thy Quill (one of the lead­ing advo­cates of euthana­sia), the broad­cast high­lights the grad­u­a­tion of physi­cian assist­ed sui­cide into the ter­mi­na­tion of dis­abled peo­ple and the chron­i­cal­ly ill and elder­ly. In par­tic­u­lar, the broad­cast dis­cuss­es the prece­dent estab­lished in the Nether­lands (which legal­ized physi­cian-assist­ed sui­cide). In that coun­try, all the legal guide­lines which physi­cians were required to observe have become obso­lete through sys­tem­at­ic vio­la­tion. The Dutch pro­gram, which should inform the Amer­i­can expe­ri­ence in this regard, has grav­i­tat­ed down the “slip­pery slope” and has become omi­nous­ly rem­i­nis­cent of the Third Reich’s T‑4 pro­gram. (Record­ed in March of 1997.)


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