Here's a new email you might have seen floating around: A Florida company offers "euthanasia cruises" on which terminally ill and suicidal passengers end their lives by jumping overboard.
Here's the text:
"A group of Florida businessmen has created a company called Euthanasia Cruises, Ltd. Each month the company takes 25 passengers on The Last Supper, a three-masted luxury sloop, for three days at sea before the passengers voluntarily end their lives by jumping into the ocean. Although a few passengers are terminally ill, most are able-bodied adults."
It's thoroughly debunked by Snopes but common sense will tell you that someone wishing to do themselves in can pick any cruise ship to do so. Indeed, every few weeks we read about someone on some cruise going overboard.
The latest was yesterday:
New York Post,
30 May 2006, He was not trying to kill himself.
So says the distraught wife of the Doylestown, Pa., man who ended a loud, public argument between the two - reportedly over his bar tab - by jumping from a Carnival Cruise ship into the waters between the Caribbean and New York City.
Paige Krishnamurthy, 39, told Carnival officials that her husband, Ramesh, 35, was shirtless and had downed four drinks when he flung himself off the balcony of their sixth-deck state room at about 1 a.m. Saturday - as their two boys, ages 5 and 3, gasped in horror.
As for the Euthanasia Cruise story, what good is a cruise that lets you jump overboard? Any decent cruise line will let you do that. What is needed is a company that will throw you overboard. That is worth paying for. Most of those sitting in old age homes and waiting for death to knock on their door are too timid to take any action themselves. They need someone to help them take the final plunge. I'm certain the only reason we in fact do not have genuine Euthanasia Cruises is precisely because we in America, except for Oregon, have not faced assisted suicide clearly and logically.
Just last Thursday Oregon's assisted suicide law was scrutinized in Senate hearing:
North County Times,
25 May 2006,
Oregon's assisted suicide law scrutinized in Senate hearing
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden defended his state's first-in-the-nation assisted suicide law Thursday at a Senate hearing -- the first since the Supreme Court upheld Oregon's law in January.
Internationally the picture is brighter:
In 1984 the Dutch Supreme Court ruled voluntary euthanasia was acceptable, provided doctors followed strict guidelines.
In 1996 Australia's Northern Territory approved medically assisted suicide for the terminally ill. The measure was later overturned.
Active euthanasia is illegal in Switzerland, but doctors may help patients die who have given specific consent. Doctors may provide lethal drugs, but the patient must administer them.
In Colombia it is not a crime to help the terminally ill die, as long as the patient has given clear consent.
Various other nations, including Denmark, Singapore, and parts of the U.S., Canada, and Australia allow patients to refuse life-prolonging measures.
Measures to legalize euthanasia have been defeated by voters in Washington and California. While Oregon voters did approve such a law, it was later blocked in court only to be allowed in January of this year.
The UK and some other European nations, allow doctors to stop trying to prolong the life of a terminal patient. However, taking steps to actively end a patient's life is illegal.
Mercy killing is opposed by most Church groups as well as by Islam:
Euthanasia, mercy killing, and suicide are all strongly condemned by Islam. Meeting in Kuwait in 1981, the First International Conference on Islamic Medicine stated there is no justification for euthanasia or mercy killing for any reason.
Of course, for Islam, unmerciful killing is absolutely permitted.
Still, some in Europe are opposed to Holland's views on Euthanasia, just last month,
The Daily Standard,
Killing Babies, Compassionately
Italy's Parliamentary Affairs minister, Carlo Giovanardi, said during a radio debate: "Nazi legislation and Hitler's ideas are reemerging in Europe via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children."
Unsurprisingly, the Dutch, ever prickly about international criticism of their peculiar institution, were outraged. Giovanardi's critique cut so deeply that even Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende felt the need to respond, sniffing, "This [Giovanardi's assertion] is scandalous and unacceptable. This is not the way to get along in Europe.