Normalising assisted suicide


It happened so long ago that the exact details are dim in my mind, but I seem to remember that a nominee for the US Supreme Court nearly failed to score his dream job because of an alleged crime of attempted rape when he was a 17-year-old high school student. There was a huge controversy, wasn’t there? Demonstrations, twitterstorms, talking heads across the nation in a frenzy, politicians grandstanding...

Of course times were different way back then and public figures were held to a higher moral and legal standard. As the saying goes, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." Nonetheless it is disturbing to read that the Democratic candidate for the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, casually told a journalist for The New Yorker that he assisted his mother to commit suicide in 2002. Assisting a suicide was a crime in California in 2002– and it still is if you are not a doctor. And at the time Newsom was not a callow teenager, but a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The odd thing about this is that there has been almost no reaction. Assisting a suicide is just as much a crime as attempted rape and in this case Newsom has admitted that he did it. You would think that at least his Republican opponent would seize upon this blithe admission as a golden opportunity to knock off Newsom's Kennedy-esque halo.

But no one seems to care. What more do you need to show that assisted suicide has been normalised in California?




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