Saturday, February 11, 2006

Is the assisted suicide debate really back?

In his NY Times Beliefs column today, Peter Steinfels looks at whether the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in assisted suicide really will reopen the debate. Whether it does or doesn't, Steinfels says “the question will not go away” because “the public is evenly divided over legalizing doctor-assisted suicide.” He mentions a Pew study -- see my previous blog post about it -- from a survey taken last November. In other right-to-die news earlier this week, St. Pete Times reporter Curtis Krueger wrote about the dueling books that are coming about the death of Terry Schivao - one from her husband and one from others in her family. (Of no particular relevance, I was an intern at Commonweal magazine in New York City in 1978 when Peter Steinfels was an editor. I almost gave up the profession, because I thought he and the other editors -- Edward Skillin, James O'Gara and my friend and teacher Ray Schroth -- were so much smarter and better journalists than I was that I would never make it. Peter, of course, would be horrified to hear that, since I remember him as a most gracious -- but tough -- editor. For agebeaters into trivia and coincidences, Daniel Callahan of the Hasting Center -- and a great source on death and dying issues -- was once an editor at Commonweal in the 1960s.)

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