Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ashes and Compassion.

Dignitas, the Swiss assisted suicide organization, should be penalized according to the law if they wrongfully disposed of cremation ashes. If they promised the dying and their loved ones that their ashes would be scattered in the lake, Dignitas should have had the proper permission and methods down.

But a couple of notes: how we treat the dead should be according to how they wish to be treated (and within legal parameters). Not all cultures and people see value in ashes, ashes are not unhealthy or polluting (urns are another issue), and I don't see scattering ashes into the lake to necessarily be disrespectful, as many are claiming as a sign that Dignitas is really just a killing machine without compassion.

Here's Wesley J. Smith's take on the incident, however, posted at The Human Future, the personal site of Jennifer Lahl, national director of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (a Medical Right organization) where Smith is a special consultant:

Ah, those compassionate people atDignitas, the Swiss assisted suicide clinic that will make you dead for about $10,000. Allegedly, they dumped the ashes of former “clients” in a lake. From the story:

BOSSES of Swiss suicide firm Dignitas were facing jail today after the discovery of up to 300 urns containing human remains in a lake. British “suicide tourist” ashes are believed to be in some of the caskets found at the bottom of Lake Zurich by police divers. Authorities were first alerted in 2008 when Dignitas staff were caught pouring the ashes of 20 clients into the water.

But “piles” of urns bearing the logo of the company’s cremation service have now been found by chance on the lake bed. Dignitas boss Ludwig Minelli now faces up to three years jail and a £3,000 fine for carrying out unauthorised burials.

So, facilitating the suicides of these people is perfectly fine, but burying them wrongly–that gets Minelli in trouble! The word irony fails to adequately characterize the situation–particularly as the country’sSupreme Court created a constitutional right to assisted suicide for the mentally ill.

Assisted suicide advocates often claim the mantle of compassion–as Minelli often has. But as with Kevorkian, that is often a mask for indifference and abandonment.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home