America has been grappling with suicide for decades. The anti-life logic of Roe v. Wade in 1973 made it inevitable that suicide, and the effort to legalize suicide, would join abortion as a major national issue. Although the Supreme Court, thankfully, ruled 9-0 in the 1997 case Washington v. Glucksberg that the Constitution contains no right to assisted suicide—the Court in essence punted the issue to the states, allowing assisted suicide to be imposed on the state level. So although the Court saved us in 1997 from a Roe v. Wade style national imposition of assisted suicide, the Court did not find that the Constitution is incompatible with the injustice of suicide and suicide assistance. What has taken place over quarter century since that 1997 case is a slow but steady increase in states permitting suicide assistance—most commonly through what is termed “physician assisted suicide”.
Dr. Jeffrey J. Barrows joins us today to speak about physician assisted suicide, why suicide prevention (rather than assistance) is at the heart of good medicine, and how to respond hopefully and positively to the challenges of life. Dr. Barrows serves as Senior Vice President of Bioethics and Public Policy for Christian Medical & Dental Associations. Dr. Barrows is an obstetrician/gynecologist, author, educator, medical ethicist and speaker.