[I]t’s possible to accept that no government can “stop” assisted suicide or abortion completely… without believing that either practice should therefore be legalized and legitimated.

Avoiding the police-state scenario doesn’t require treating self-slaughter as a protected right, and effectively licensing the Jack Kevorkians of the world to cater to anyone who wants to die badly enough to take the plunge.

That’s how our laws treat abortion, and the result is a kind of abortion industry — in which the country’s largest abortion provider doubles as a major Democratic interest group, and for-profit freelancers take advantage of the vulnerable….

If the right to die really became “a lot like” the right to abortion in America, there would be Swiss-style thanatoriums in most American cities, the Hemlock Society would be a major lobbying group (boasting, no doubt, that most of its resources go to palliative care rather than assisted suicide), and Kermit Gosnell-style thanatists would prey on the elderly while the courts looked the other way.

But… here’s a counter-scenario for Saletan: If we treated abortion the way, say, Oregon treats assisted suicide, it would only be legally sanctioned in rare cases… and even then it would have to be approved by 2 physicians and hedged around by waiting periods. That kind of regime would represent an enormous victory for pro-lifers….

~ Ross Douthat, disagreeing with William Saletan’s likening of assisted suicide to abortion, NY Times, June 6

[Photo via worldmag.com]

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