NPR sort-of disses euthanasia

The National Public Radio (NPR) “Health” site has a sad article about a young mother in California terminally ill with scleroderma, and near the end of her life.  It’s going to be a pretty grim death as her lungs first give out, and then her heart.  But the mother, Stephanie Packer, is religious, and has decided against assisted dying because only God has the right to end someone’s life. As the article notes,

 She and husband Brian, 36, are devout Catholics. They agree with their church that doctors should never hasten death.

“We’re a faith-based family,” he says. “God put us here on earth and only God can take us away. And he has a master plan for us, and if suffering is part of that plan, which it seems to be, then so be it.”

That is her choice, though if you’re an unbeliever you’re relieved of the burden of “letting God decide,” and can die when you so choose. But Packer goes further, criticizing a new California bill that allows terminal patients to receive “end of life” medications.

They also believe if California legislation called SB 128 passes, it would create the potential for abuse. Pressure to end one’s life, they fear, could become a dangerous norm, especially in a world defined by high-cost medical care.

Instead of fatal medication, Stephanie says she hopes other terminally ill people consider existing palliative medicine and hospice care.

“Death can be beautiful and peaceful,” she says. “It’s a natural process that should be allowed to happen on its own.” Even, she says, when it poses uncomfortable challenges.

Sadly, as any doctor knows, death isn’t always “beautiful and peaceful” (ALS is one example) and a fair number of people would prefer to take a fatal dose of morphine (often given anyway by concerned doctors) or barbiturates rather than suffer needlessly.  Of course Packer has the right to give her opinion about the bill, but trying to prevent its passage is a way of forcing one’s religious beliefs on those who don’t share them. Not all of us believe in God, and even some believers don’t feel that they have to wait for God to take them.  Further, the “slippery-slope” argument simply hasn’t panned out in states and countries that allow assisted dying.

It’s interesting to compare this story with NPR’s treatment of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with incurable brain cancer who moved from California to Oregon so she could end her life when she wanted. (She passed away on November 1 of last year.) After Brittany explained her reasons in the article, NPR decided to give the arguments against assisted dying:

But this is a complicated topic. As The Washington Post reports, just as [Maynard] had support for her decision, there were others who tried to persuade her to live:

“Ira Byock, chief medical officer of the Institute for Human Caring of Providence Health and Services, spoke loudly against the practice.

“‘When doctor-induced death becomes an accepted response to the suffering of dying people, logical extensions grease the slippery slope,’ he wrote in a New York Times op-ed. He cited statistics in Holland, where the practice is permitted, that claim more than 40 people sought and received doctor-assisted death for depression and other mental disorders. ‘Even the psychiatrist who began this practice in the 90′s recently declared the situation had gone “off the rails.”

“‘Moral outrage is appropriate and needed to fix the sorry state of dying in America. Legalizing assisted suicide fixes nothing. The principle that doctors must not kill patients stands.'”

Note that both sides are presented in the article about Brittany Maynard, but only one side, against assisted-dying, in the piece on Stephanie Packer (and the paragraphs right above are basically the end of the piece).

Is this more coddling of faith by NPR? I don’t know, but the journalistic treatment of the two cases is hardly comparable.

h/t: Cindy

75 Comments

  1. sensorrhea
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Glad you caught this. I’ll add it to the ever-lengthening list of NPR faith-coddling.

    https://airbagmoments.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/yes-public-radio-is-pro-religion/

  2. Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    “Death can be beautiful and peaceful,” she says. “It’s a natural process that should be allowed to happen on its own.”

    Bull fucking shit. That’s some weapons grade newspeak right there, with an appeal to nature as a bonus!

    Has no one close to her died from a terminal illness?

    • Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      When read that I immediately thought this person has obviously never had a relative die of Alzheimer’s. Nothing beautiful or peaceful about that.

      • Adam Pack
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        I cared for my grandad when he had Alzheimer’s. I was there as he died. It was not ‘beautiful and peaceful’, it was fucking awful and terrifying. So maybe she could shut right up?

        • Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          It was the same for me except I’ve been through it with three Grandparents and an Aunt.

    • nickswearsky
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      You want death to really be natural? Leave Grandma out in the woods one night. The wolves and bears will take care of everything. That’s natural. Everything else, we can control as we like.

    • Kevin
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear. Life is beautiful and peaceful. Death is f**king shit and if it is terminal, we, as a species, need to learn to accept it and provide each other with the rational choice to end it on our own terms.

      Another example of the insanely uncompassionate influence of religion.

    • quiscalus
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      yes, it CAN be beautiful and even peaceful, but it can also be long, drawn-out, horrifying and brutally painful, not to mention embarrassing, expensive, and emotionally draining for the dying and their relatives.

      when I heard this excrement uttered on the radio, I yelled a few choice words at the radio (they apparently couldn’t hear me though) and then turned it off. It never ceases to amaze me how completely blind, ignorant, heartless, or just plain stupid some people can be.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:45 am | Permalink

        I can agree with peaceful, but I’m having trouble coming up with a scenario that I’d characterize as beautiful.

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            As Terry Pratchet was fairly lucid in interviews up to a short time before his death (unlike most people who die from dementia), I can only assume that he took control of matters himself. Thus he was able to have the death most of us would want.

            My late wife, when diagnosed with terminal cancer, took steps to obtain veterinary sodium pentobarbital (Nembutal), and was thus able to chose the moment of her death. She passed peacefully into a deep sleep and died soon after. I was by her side the whole time, holding her hand. I would not describe it as beautiful, but it was the best death either of us could have wished for, and although it still brings tears to my eyes, I would not have had it any other way, and neither would she.

            Up till her death she had been an active campaigner for Assisted Dying here in Scotland, where we are still trying to change the law. I might add that her doctor was very supportive during all this.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

              Your wife and you were fortunate* in the manner of her death (as was Sir Terry). I am pleased for you. That’s how it should be for everybody, and there’s no good reason why it couldn’t be.

              (‘Beautiful’ is certainly an overstatement, though).

              *It’s very hard to find the right words that couldn’t be taken the wrong way. I mean it in a good way.

              • HaggisForBrains
                Posted May 23, 2015 at 2:58 am | Permalink

                Understood. Thank you.

            • Diane G.
              Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:32 am | Permalink

              That’s so sad, HFB. But indeed, you two managed to handle it in what would appear to be the best possible way. That could serve as a model for many of us.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      +1 to everyone above. The slippery slope argument is just stupid as well written legislation sorts that easily. All other arguments against voluntary euthanasia are ignorant and selfish.

      What is it with people that they can look at someone who is suffering and dying and decide what they want and believe is more important than the one doing the suffering and dying?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:33 am | Permalink

        +100 to all of you.

        My mother died of cancer of the throat. She had always believed (on the infrequent occasions when the subject came up) in voluntary euthanasia. The doctors can put you on painkillers but they can’t hide the fact that you’re choking. When the symptoms got too bad she demanded, repeatedly, that she be put out of her suffering. But under our benighted superstitious stone-age laws that would have been counted as murder.

        What a shitty way to end your life when it’s all totally unnecessary.

        I would like to think that someone quietly gave her a massive overdose but I thought it advisable never to ask. I felt guilty for years that I didn’t have the knowledge to ‘help her on her way’ or, I must admit, the guts to find out how to do it.

        I would not wish that end on anybody – with one exception – here is my curse on everybody who actively opposes voluntary euthanasia – may you die in agony, screaming and begging for someone to end it – and be refused.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:49 am | Permalink

      “Has no one close to her died from a terminal illness?”

      At 32, that’s quite possible.

      I always wonder why empathy alone doesn’t cause people to come down on the side of compassion, but some people seem never to grasp wrenching situations until they experience them personally.

  3. sensorrhea
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “God put us here on earth and only God can take us away. And he has a master plan for us, and if suffering is part of that plan, which it seems to be, then so be it.”

    The fact that this kind of sentiment is considered to be noble by many is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Praise the god dam lord!

  4. rickflick
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    “trying to prevent its passage is a way of forcing one’s religious beliefs on those who don’t share them.”

    Yes, it is. But, the fact that her opinion is that of the church and is logically incoherent is sad, but still perfectly legal. The only defense against such efforts is to work against them politically and to encourage a broadly secular society.

  5. Lesli
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The NYT recently had a beautiful piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/magazine/the-last-day-of-her-life.html?_r=0 about “The Last Day of Her Life,” about Sandy Bem, who needed to make the decision how and when to die when she learned she had Alzheimer’s.

  6. Richard
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    “God put us here on earth and only God can take us away. And he has a master plan for us, and if suffering is part of that plan, which it seems to be, then so be it.”

    I second what others have said about this and similar passages. It’s exactly this sort of sadomasochistic drivel that made Mother Teresa a friend not of the poor but of poverty, not of the sick but of sickness, not of the dying but of death.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      And the fact that Mother Teresa chose to have the palliative care she denied so many is yet another reason she doesn’t deserve the praise she gets.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        That whole nonsense story is so amazing.

        If not for the science of Kodak and a misinterpretation by a flaky satirist, it would never have happened.

        People are weird.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Hitchens condemned Teresa for this sadistic behavior. It may have been the first or at least the most widely noted criticism of her. It was a devastating analysis at the time and this helped crystallize for me how sick the Catholic Church is. My optimistic guess is that that has helped a lot of people realize for themselves the inherent dishonesty and treachery of the Church.

  7. Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I wonder how many people dying in agony ‘failed the test’ and lost their faith in the process. More than believers are prepared to countenance I should think.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:54 am | Permalink

      And one wonders how much that added to the psychic pain they were already in?

  8. krzysztof1
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    A few years ago my spouse and I did an undergraduate course in critical thinking. To give the students practice we chose controversial subjects to discuss, one of which was assisted suicide.

    We had the class watch a Bill Moyers program which featured a man with ALS who wanted control over when he died. The program followed the course of his decline and his efforts to legally make this happen. (Ultimately he was unable to take his own life.)

    Many in the class were unable to empathize with the man (as were one or two persons in the video). One of the excuses given was “in order for me to understand his point of view I would have to agree with him, and he’s wrong.” We were not too successful in convincing those students otherwise.

    • Posted May 21, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Or in thinking critically.

      • krzysztof1
        Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        True enough for some of them. There were some that believed the course was valuable, however.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:55 am | Permalink

        Which rather upholds my hypothesis that some people are simply incapable of it.

  9. EvolvedDutchie
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Most suicidal Dutchies take their life in a gruesome way, because euthanasia for depression is a tedious, drawn-out process.

    The problem with euthanasia for depressed patients is that by definition they are not sound of mind and therefore are not likely to make a good judgement. I think doctors should be more careful with euthanasia for mentally ill patients than euthanasia for physically ill patients.

    At the same time, 1854 Dutch citizens committed suicide in 2013. These people deserved a more humane end to their life.

  10. pk
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Another example of a wonderful death: http://goo.gl/Ja58JM

    All part of god’s masterplan!

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      How appalling!

      (And her assailant only got 7 years!)

  11. Michael Michaels
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    “God put us here on earth and only God can take us away. And he has a master plan for us, and if suffering is part of that plan, which it seems to be, then so be it.”

    The Catholic church certainly has a lot of hospitals for an organization that doesn’t want to interfere in God’s plan.
    This policy doesn’t seem to be the case when someone is sick or dying, they interfere with God’s plan all the time. From premature babies to cancer to infections, they get in the way of God’s plan.

    The arrogance is truly amazing, to believe they know exactly which of God’s plans they can block.
    Is that being a hypocrite, or just plain rationalizing?

    Silly me. That’s the business of religion. Arrogantly deciding what God’s plan is, then enforcing it on everyone else, even if they aren’t of your religion.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      I read recently they are taking over fists full of once secular hospitals all the time. It won’t be long before getting your preferred treatment might require you to fight past a phalanx of priests.

      • Michael Michaels
        Posted May 21, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        I read that too. They are buying up hospital after hospital, and closing down or consolidating them, making the Catholic hospital the only option to many people.

        Some or all of those Catholic hospitals have been accused of practicing less than best quality of care, because they don’t inform patients of some care options because it goes against Catholic beliefs. This places the patient in possible jeopardy.
        This is especially true when it comes to women and issues surrounding fetal care, the hospital/Catholic doctrine puts the fetus’s concerns above the concern of the woman.

  12. Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Good grief, agony is perfectly natural (and common) too! Who gives a rat’s patoot if it’s natural.

    Almost everything we do in life now isn’t “natural”! Should we prohibit caesarian sections because they aren’t natural (to use just one example)?!

    Fine, if she wants to suffer, go right ahead.

    Don’t try to impose it on others who want to make a more rational choice.

    • muffy
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Exactly. I nearly vomited when her husband started talking about how his skydaddy *wants* us to suffer.

      • bluemaas
        Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        O, that part was truly so, so angering, I hafta say. I heard that specific wholly npr – mollycoddling segment yesterday afternoon.

        When that husband spoke Teresa – style about his “knowing” that some god was “directing” such specific suffering onto another, let alone, onto his own wife only one more time yet again confirms my vehicles’ (FFRF – obtained) sticker = Sexism: the Original Sin.

        Blue

  13. Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Only Hank gets to say when you leave town.

    • bluemaas
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      O, .that. is a hoot !

      What ?! “NO condiments” either ! Boo – Hoo !

      Blue

  14. Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Damned few institutions are as profoundly evil as the Catholic Church.

    b&

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      The first time I read that sentence, I read “proudly” for “profoundly”. Both versions read true.

  15. Andrikzen
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    “God put us here on earth and only God can take us away. And he has a master plan for us, and if suffering is part of that plan, which it seems to be, then so be it.” – That is the poison, the paralysis, of religion.

    As far as God’s master plan, from Genesis: When Eve, then Adam – the progenitors of humanity- ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they wrested from God responsibility for their own behavior, actions and their consequences, giving rise to human morality and ethics. From that point on we’ve had to figure it all out for ourselves. God washed his hands of humanity and is now on sabbatical somewhere in the Caribbean.

    But I digress, euthanasia (abortion, as well) threatens the shared delusion of our cosmic self-importance.

  16. Mark R.
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    If the article is somehow trying to show a religious-induced stoicism of death, then it fails miserably. I just see a couple who is misguided and manipulated by their faith (a poisonous gift to science I recently read). This is a sad tale, but I almost laughed when I read that if suffering is a part of God’s master plan then so be it. Talk about shallow thinking. What kind of “master plan” is that…who gains…God? What tripe.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Yeah. The really sick part of the Christian myths that Christians just don’t seem to get, or maybe they do but are just that subserviant, is that by their own claims, by their own definitions, their god is perfectly capable of realizing The Master Plan without all of the pain and misery. So the only explanation is that it chooses not to do that.

      Given that, even if their god actually existed they’ve still got it wrong. The only ethical, decent response to such a god is clearly an enthusiastic middle finger salute. They keep trying to transform it into a god of love, but they’ve still got a lot of work ahead of them to achieve that. It still looks like one of the nastiest gods every dreamed up if you are paying attention.

  17. Pliny the in Between
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    “Ira Byock, chief medical officer of the Institute for Human Caring of Providence Health and Services, spoke loudly against the practice”

    It would be nice if journalists adopted the ethics rules used in medical research where authors and commenters have to disclose potential conflicts of interest. Providence Health System is a Catholic-owned healthcare aggregate that is very open about its religiously-oriented policies.

  18. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    “Death can be beautiful and peaceful,” she says.

    “can be” is a good pair of weasel words.
    Personally, when I think of death, I think of a corpse vomiting into my mouth while I’m trying CPR. It’s the sort of experience that … adheres.
    Mouth to nose, every time. Unless the nose is too mashed up. you get a better seal in any case.

  19. ladyatheist
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    So NPR reported on something that the Washington Post reported that the New York Times reported. Has NPR become reddit-radio?

  20. Posted May 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh I hate it when people talk about this topic, esp. religious people and not talk to the people with terminal illnesses.

    It’s all about choice. As long as paliative care can grant a decent quality of life, excellent. That is, if people can afford it, which is another controversial topic esp. in the USA. As soon as the quality of life gets below the individual threshold the choice should be there. But as long as religion claims to know better the choice is not really there. *sigh*

    • EvolvedDutchie
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Religion sees itself as the world’s Designated Adult.

  21. Robert B.
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    A. “… if suffering is part of that plan, which it seems to be, then so be it.”

    B. “… hopes terminally ill people consider existing palliative medicine… Death can be beautiful and peaceful,” she says. “It’s a natural process that should be allowed to happen on its own.”

    Self-contradictory and hypocrisy, by George! If suffering is part of the plan, then palliative care is thwarting God’s plan. Stephanie is a hypocrite

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      But also dying; surely she deserves our sympathy for that, and not our condemnation. Let’s go after the goddam Church instead.

  22. Posted May 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    “They also believe if California legislation called SB 128 passes, it would create the potential for abuse. Pressure to end one’s life, they fear, could become a dangerous norm…”

    The Maryland legislature debated a “death with dignity” bill earlier this year and lots of Catholics made the foregoing argument in letters to editors and online comments. Probably a top-down meme.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      It’s what disabled people fear too, though.

  23. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I had a friend.

    His father, coincidentally, was of Dutch heritage.

    His father decided to kill himself, out in a back shed, by holding a wad of gelignite to his head and detonating it.

    (It was said that this is not an uncommon way for the Dutch to do it)?

    It did not kill him outright and his son, my friend at the time, found him dying with half his head gone.

    This is, to say the least, not good.

    A civilised approach to dying is sorely needed

  24. Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    The Medical Association of California has decided to maintain a neutral stance against this bill rather than being against it. The doctors are changing their positions based on the fact that the populace is changing its’ opinion.

    The proposed law in California is formulated on the Oregon law which is very carefully framed. If California had had such a law when she was ready to die, Jessica wouldn’t have had to disrupt her life by moving to Oregon.

    If an individual wants to experience pain while dying, they can choose to, however irrational. A person who wants to die with
    as little pain as possible should also have the option. The person who chooses the second way of death must be able to administer the drugs without assistance according to Oregon law, so doctors are not really assisting in a suicide.

  25. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    She’s a blithering idiot (soon to be a dead one). She has every right to her stupidity, if she wants to nail her feet to the floor she can do it, but she has absolutely no right to try to impose her stupidity on rational people.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:14 am | Permalink

      She’s probably Catholic-brainwashed, and she’s expressing an opinion we certainly disagree with; but she is dying…Couldn’t we just call her wrong, or misguided, or a sad example of the harms of religion? Or am I being a tone troll here?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        I have great sympathy for anyone who is dying of a horrendous disease – but that stops abruptly at the point where they try to inflict suffering on someone else. She is wrong and misguided and trying to make other people suffer for it. Not much different from ISIS when you come to think of it. I’ll save my sympathy for people who I think deserve it.

        Sorry if that sounds harsh. It’s kinda personal.

        (By the way I don’t like that phrase ‘tone troll’ and anyway I wouldn’t accuse you of it. Anyone is free to disagree with my view).

        • muffy
          Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink

          I would agree with that. She wants other people to suffer, and she would probably believe the same even if not dying.

          She is an ass, dying or not. Dying doesn’t *not* make her a jerk.

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 23, 2015 at 1:36 am | Permalink

          Nothing I can disagree with there. Thanks for the reply.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 23, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            I got a bit strident there. But I do think people who are suffering some misfortune aren’t thereby entitled to visit misfortune on someone else.

  26. Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    I remember when, some 40 years ago, NPR was good — really, consistently good.

    Then, it morphed into National Palestinian Radio a couple decades or so later.

    Now, it seems to have morphed or be morphing into National Prayer Radio.

    I listen to it less and less. Thank wise folks for PBS NewsHour.

  27. Anthony
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    Although I’m only slightly past 50, the topic of death starts to weigh on my me occasionally, including being in control of the process if necessary. I wondered why it would be so hard to get it done, but of course I understand that if any help is needed then I might be putting other people at legal risk.

    As long as I could have minimal function, however, I thought I could procure my own breathing mask and some nitrogen. Hypoxia would be something like falling asleep or fainting, and only take a few minutes.

    Recently, in a Vice article, I saw that an Australian doctor is doing just that under a legal loophole: selling nitrogen as a home made beer ingredient.

    http://www.vice.com/video/death-in-a-can-australias-euthanasia-loophole

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      I’d thought of the nitrogen method. Apparently it’s pretty painless, most of the anguish of suffocation comes not from loss of oxygen but from the build-up of carbon dioxide, and with nitrogen that wouldn’t occur.

      But you still need to be able-bodied to carry it out.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Sharlotte Hydorn sells more than 1,600 suicide kits every year. She supplies helium rather than nitrogen.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/04/27/suicide-kits-the-91-year-old-woman-selling-instant-death-on-the-internet.html

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        I doubt it makes much difference, any inert gas would do. However helium being lighter than air would work better with a plastic bag over the head, I’d guess.

  28. Posted May 24, 2015 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    “God put us here on earth and only God can take us away. And he has a master plan for us, and if suffering is part of that plan, which it seems to be, then so be it.”

    I love the inanity of this argument. You can use the same argument to justify not turning on the lights at night. “God made light and only God can take it away. And he has a master plan for us, and if darkness is a part of that plan, which it seems to be, then so be it.”

    • rickflick
      Posted May 25, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Generally speaking not turning on the lights IS pretty ridiculous. Except on the Sabbath of course.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] decision not to euthanize their suffering daughter. As the blog Why Evolution Is True points out, when NPR ran a story about a woman who chose euthanasia they throughly covered both sides of the […]

%d bloggers like this: