SWBTS General 3

NM judge redefines assisted suicide as 'aid in dying'

January 24th, 2014 / By: Jerry Pierce / comments

A New Mexico judge has ruled that terminally ill patients have a right to “aid in dying” under the state’s constitution but that such actions are not assisted suicide.

You read that correctly. 

“Such deaths are not considered ‘suicide’ under New Mexico’s assisted suicide statute,” Judge Nan Nash of the state’s 2nd District Court wrote in his ruling, according to a Los Angeles Times account. Assisting in a suicide is a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico. 

One of the plaintiffs in the case is a 50-year-old uterine cancer survivor who underwent aggressive chemotherapy in 2011 and began weighing whether or not she wanted to continue living or seek a “more peaceful and gentle death.” 

Translation: I might wish to check out early if this gets worse, but I would want someone else to do the dirty work. 

Obviously, the judge is contemptuous of the law on the books and has essentially mocked it with semantic trickery. 

G.K. Chesterton said it well: “We are always near the breaking-point when we care only for what is legal and nothing for what is lawful. Unless we have a moral principle about such delicate matters as marriage and murder, the whole world will become a welter of exceptions with no rules.” 

He’s spot on. We’ve lost our referent, which was a Judeo-Christian ethos as the basis for law and what is lawful and therefore legal. 

Attorneys for the county and the state AG’s office rightly noted that calling “assisted suicide ‘aid in dying’ does not make the conduct so defined any less an assisted suicide.” 

Yet the spokesman for another of the plaintiffs, Compassion & Choices, shamelessly and absurdly claimed that “Patients who choose aid in dying find the suggestion that they are committing ‘suicide’ deeply offensive, stigmatizing and inaccurate.” 

So it appears we are set free to redefine terms to our liking, and the “we” here includes judges with great social capital. Abortion is now “reproductive health care,” assisted suicide is “aid in dying” or “death with dignity,” homosexual marriage is “marriage equality,” etc. 

Relativism has long been wreaking havoc on behavior. Now it’s working its deleterious charm on language too.