Indi Gregory and the Future of Death on Demand

Dec 5, 2023 by

by Thomas M Ward, First Things:

Italian actress Sibilla Barbieri recently left her native land in order to leave this world in Switzerland. Italy did not want her to kill herself, but Switzerland was indifferent. Not long after Barbieri’s victory, the parents of baby Indi Gregory tried to leave their native England to attempt to save their daughter’s life in Italy. Indi, only eight months old, had a rare mitochondrial disease and required life support. Prime minister Giorgia Meloni granted Indi Italian citizenship to expedite the emigration. But England judged that it was in Indi’s best interests to die—the courts ruled that nothing could be done for Indi, and thus that it was not worth it for the state to continue paying for life support. She died on November 13, a few hours after her doctors removed life support.

On the surface, death and Italy are the only commonalities between the Barbieri and Gregory cases. But these events taken together grimly foreshadow a world that will become increasingly difficult for opponents of assisted suicide to navigate.

Today, the Hippocratic orthodoxy to do no harm has become optional. In Canada, Holland, and a fifth of American states, doctors are now allowed to kill people who want to be killed. Slippery slope predictions are coming true: not just the terminally ill, but also those with physical disabilities and mental illnesses are choosing to die—and in some cases, being encouraged to die.

As Richard John Neuhaus put it, “where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.” Before long, insurance companies will require doctors to recommend “medical aid in dying” (MAID) to patients who pass some quantifiable threshold of suffering. Later, they will refuse to cover life-prolonging and life-improving interventions when patients are past that threshold. Some of these patients won’t be able to leave the hospital, even when they want to (for their own safety). They will be taking up valuable space that could be given to worthier patients. Notice that the old term “medically assisted suicide” has been replaced by “MAID,” which sounds a little nicer at first, until you realize it neither says nor implies anything whatsoever about a patient’s own choices about death and healthcare.

Read here


Related Posts


Share This