Active Voluntary Euthanasia
A Needless Pandora's Box
D. Alan Shewmon
... One of the main reasons why the legal and medical professions have always opposed active euthanasia is that such societal issues are never static; they necessarily evolve according the the dynamics of their underlying philosophy, with the laws being forever revised to accommodate it. Because the logical endpoint of that evolution is considered undesirable, so is its initiation.
Euthanasia advocates dismiss the "slippery slope" argument by reference to other societies in which the practice of suicide for specific indications has not evolved into a horror of abuses—for example, the voluntary freezing to death of elderly Eskimos. 1 But such societies are not valid testing grounds for voluntary euthanasia in our own society, because of the differences in basic philosophy and the radically different levels of social complexity. The Netherlands would serve this purpose well, except for the fact that insufficient time has passed, since acceptance of active euthanasia, to observe any long-term effects. Our similarities with pre-Nazi Germany, however, are compelling, and will be discussed later. Thus, the President's Commission stated:____________________