Blogs > Liberty and Power > Ersatz Autonomy

Jan 19, 2006 9:02 am

Ersatz Autonomy

The U.S. Supreme Court, as everyone knows by now, has ruled that the federal government can't interfere with Oregon's so-called assisted-suicide law. I have mixed feelings. I'm happy the feds were told to butt out. But I don't like the Oregon law. It's an example of ersatz autonomy. It doesn't really recognize the right to take one's own life; rather, it empowers doctors to grant permission for and to facilitate a person's suicide if that person petitions his doctor and meets the highly stringent conditions set out in the law. For one thing, another doctor has to concur, and the patient has to be certified as not being mentally ill, which opens a floodgate of reasons to deny a petition. Thomas Szasz pointed out the fraud of assisted-suicide long ago. His book Fatal Freedom goes into the subject in depth. Here's a summary in one of his Freeman columns.

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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