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Euthanasia Essay: The Hemlock Society and Assisted Suicide

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Hemlock Society, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide



Dori Zook, Hemlock Society public relations director, claims that Hemlock supports legalization of physician- assisted death only in cases of terminal illness. And Hemlock's website asserts that the Society favors physician-assisted suicide strictly for someone "who is already in the dying process." But there is a glaring discrepancy between this official stance and what prominent members of Hemlock have said and done.



For example, there is this little gem from Hemlock co-founder Derek Humphry's book, Final Exit:

"What can those of us who sympathize with a justified suicide by a handicapped person do to help? When we have statutes on the books permitting lawful
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Riverside County, 14.

A wheelchair is not a life-prolonging machine, nor will Bouvia's cerebral palsy ever require her to use such machines. Advocates of assisted suicide prejudicially twist the facts of disability to make their case.



Bouvia had been through a series of devastating ordeals in the two years preceding her request for help in ending her life: The graduate program in social work at San Diego State University violated her federally protected civil rights. Bouvia dropped out of school, and the state Dept. of Rehabilitation repossessed her wheelchair-lift-equipped van. (Instead of urging her to fight this discrimination, Richard Scott declared publicly: "Quadriplegics cannot work.")



Meanwhile, she married and kept her marriage secret from social- welfare authorities in order not to run afoul of the "marriage disincentives" that would have cost her her essential financial aid. She got pregnant, had a miscarriage, separated from her husband, decided to divorce him, and learned that her brother had drowned and that her mother had cancer. At this point, Bouvia checked herself into the psychiatric unit of Riverside County Hospital and said she wanted help to die.



Scott brought in a doctor, a psychiatrist, and an educational psychologist to evaluate Bouvia.
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