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Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and the New Duty to Die Paperback – January 15, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


"HMOs, with their emphasis on controlling costs by limiting services, and euthanasia are a deadly combination." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Smith fears that euthanasia will eventually become ... legally enforceable... and warns against the degeneration of essential human values." -- Library Journal

"Thoughtful and provocative." -- Booklist

About the Author

Wesley J Smith lives in Castro Valley, California with his wife, the syndicated columnist Debra Saunders.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; 1 edition (January 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594031193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594031199
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award winning author Wesley J. Smith is a Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute. He is also a consultant to the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture. In May 2004, because of his work in bioethics, he was named by the National Journal as one of the nation's top expert thinkers in bioengineering. In 2008, the Human Life Foundation named him a Great Defender of Life for his work against assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Smith left the full time practice of law in 1985 to pursue a career in writing and public advocacy. He is the author or coauthor of eleven books.

His book Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and the New Duty to Die (1997, Times Books), a broad-based criticism of the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement has become a classic in anti-euthanasia advocacy and is now in its third edition published by Encounter Books in 2006. Smith's Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, a warning about the dangers of the modern bioethics movement, was named one of the Ten Outstanding Books of the Year and Best Health Book of the Year for 2001 (Independent Publisher Book Awards). His Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World, which he explores the morality, science, and business aspects of human cloning, stem cell research, and genetic engineering, appeared in 2004.

Smith next authored A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement, a critical look at the animal rights/liberation movement. The best selling novelist Dean Koontz writes of the book in the preface, "Wesley J. Smith knows too well that if the activists ever succeeded in their goals, if they established through culture or law that human beings have no intrinsic dignity greater than that of any animal, the world would not be a better place for either humankind or animals."

Smith's most recently published book is The War On Humans, an ebook that critiques the growing radicalism within the environmental movement. The legendary civil libertarian, Nat Hentoff, praised the work: "If there were an international award for continuing to focus on and document cultural and political threats to basic human life and potential-I emphasize human--the winner would be Wesley J. Smith... [In The War on Humans] Smith has now written a riveting expose of this multi-dimensional assault on human beings that for life saving reasons--I kid you not--must be read by human beings beyond their political, religious, and all other affiliations."

Smith formerly collaborated with Ralph Nader, co-authoring four books with consumer advocate. In addition, he co-authored (with Eric M. Chevlen, MD), Power Over Pain: How to Get the Pain Control You Need.

Smith has published hundreds of articles and opinion columns on issues such as the importance of being human (human exceptionalism), assisted suicide, bioethics, the morality of human cloning, the dangers of animal liberation, the anti-human elements in the radical environmental movement, legal ethics, and public affairs. His writing has appeared nationally and internationally, including in Newsweek, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, The Weekly Standard, First Things, National Review, The Age (Australia), the Telegraph (United Kingdom), Western Journal of Medicine, and the American Journal of Bioethics. He has also been published in regional publications throughout the nation and internationally in newspapers in the UK, Italy, Australia, and Canada.

Throughout his career in public advocacy, Smith has appeared on thousands of television and radio talk/interview programs, including such national programs as ABC Nightline, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, CNN Crossfire, CNN World Report, the CBS Evening News, Coast to Coast, the Dennis Prager syndicated radio show, The Dennis Miller Show, the Mike Gallagher syndicated radio show, Afternoons with Al Kresta, EWTN, CSPAN-Book TV, Fox News Channel, and CNN Talk Back Live. He has appeared internationally on Voice of America, CNN International, and programs originating in Great Britain (BBC), Australia (ABC), Canada (CBC), Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany, China, and Mexico.

Smith is often called upon by members of legislative and executive branches of government to advise on issues within his fields of expertise. He has testified as an expert witness in front of federal and state legislative committees, and has counseled government leaders internationally about matters of mutual concern.

Smith is an international lecturer and public speaker, appearing frequently at political, university, medical, legal, disability rights, bioethics, religious, and community gatherings across the United States, Europe, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, and Australia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Cooper on October 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This newly revised and updated edition of Forced Exit provides a gripping overview and analysis of the assisted suicide and euthanasia movement and the threat it poses to human dignity and human equality. Author Wesley J. Smith lays out the chilling intellectual underpinnings of a movement that asserts there is such a thing as human life unworthy of life--and that other humans or "experts" should be called upon to determine whose life satisfies the criteria for continued existence. Smith gives readers clear and straightforward analysis of the important issues at stake and the implications for the most vulnerable among us.

Smith persuasively shows that he basic ideals that the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement hope to carve into federal and state laws through litigation and legislation are detrimental to the equality-of-life ethic that has long been recognized in this nation. In Forced Exit, Smith gives readers a strong defense of that important ethic. That ethic makes clear that the elderly, the sick and the disabled have as much importance, dignity, and worth than the young and the healthy.

Importantly, Smith provides solutions to the dilemmas faced by patients at life's so-called margins. Steps must be taken to educate doctors about how to recognize depression in patients and that depression must be treated. Current medical practice must place greater emphasis upon pain control, since palliative measures can significantly reduce--if not eliminate--the physical pain felt by many patients who have serious injuries or illness.

The false notion that assisted suicide somehow furthers patient autonomy is exploded by Smith.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some books on current topics go out of date quickly with the rapid changes of our world. Wesley Smith's book is not one of those books. It continues to be an excellent analysis of the problems associated with the promotion of euthanasia as a solution for those who are suffering. Smith identifies the basic underlying problem with euthanasia that leads to the negative effects it has had in the places it has been practiced and will have if it is used more widely. Euthanasia in all of its forms, including physician assisted suicide, entails someone making a decision that it is best that another person's life be ended. That involves a decision that the life of the person in question is a life that is not worth living. All the moral progress that has been made to respect the value of the lives of those who have been disrespected or oppressed, whether that be slaves, ethnic minorities, women, the people of South Africa oppressed by apartheid, or the disabled, depends on an understanding of the equal intrinsic value of every human being. When we say that we can judge that another person's life is not worth living we are saying that their life is no longer of value and they are no longer of value. Smith shows how that leads to things that we should never want to go back to. This book will be worth reading for years to come.

Stephen Phillips MD, MA Bioethics
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By owlwise on August 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very thought provoking read, directly or indirectly addressing ethics and philosophy, and stressing the quality of life. It is a lot to absorb and digest. It left me questioning life's quality of someone in ICU, possibly in a coma, intubated and IV'd every which way but loose, and possibly of advanced age. Is that unfortunate person even aware of their circumstance? Unfortunately, the medical establishment is trained in prolonging life at all costs. And I, for one, would not wish my life prolonged just for the sake of it.
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By ep on March 31, 2015
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