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Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder Paperback – June, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Suicide isn't what it's cracked up to be, according to lawyer and consumer advocate Smith, who condemns the increasing public acceptance of all forms of suicide and euthanasia when ultimately inadequate medical care and an impersonal healthcare system are at fault. Above all, he fears that euthanasia will eventually become a legally enforceable right to kill. Not one to mince words, he calls proponents of the right-to-die movement "death fundamentalists" and warns against the degeneration of essential human values. Instead of legitimized euthanasia, Smith would like to see public policies designed to offer care to the clinically depressed and the terminally ill. At times emotional and rambling, his book nonetheless offers valuable insights into the consequences of condoned death.?Mary Hemmings, Univ. of Calgary Lib., Alberta
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Smith, coauthor of Nader's recent books on insurance (1993), airline safety (1993), and "power lawyers" , makes the case against assisted suicide, challenging "right to die" advocates (whom he labels supporters of "Death Fundamentalism") and urging that "euthanasia is unwise, unethical, and just plain wrong, a social experiment that if implemented will lead to cultural and ethical catastrophe." Smith examines the philosophical and cultural roots of support for assisted suicide; outlines the Dutch experience; explores the growth of euthanasia advocacy in the U.S.; analyzes the likely place of assisted suicide within an increasingly market-driven medical marketplace, and specific groups (e.g., people with disabilities) most likely to be victimized; sketches and responds to "commonly heard arguments"; and suggests another approach--overcoming "our national death phobia," better controlling HMOs, improving hospital ethics committees, and getting communities involved in supporting ill and aging neighbors. Thoughtful and provocative. Mary Carroll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Spence Publishing Company; Rev Upd edition (June 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890626481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890626488
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,247,761 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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Smith presents a passionate and intelligent argument against physician-assisted suicide. He places the debate in both an historical and a cultural context, and argues cogently why our doctors should not be in the business of killing. This book should be required reading for doctors and anyone on a hospital ethics board. I recommend it to anyone considering these difficult and important questions.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
No major change comes quickly. Little compromises are made that slowly but surely lead to a major, sometimes horrifying change. Such is the case with euthanasia.
Smith is a very readable writer and well informed on the issue. Yes there is some emotional content but that is not a bad thing. This is an emotionally charged issue. It is also a disturbing issue for many and far to many have fallen for the ready platitudes of the so called �Death with Dignity� crowd. When the lies and sweet words are stripped from their word though a very harsh and frightening reality is left.
As one who has had to fight this beast (we lost the battle and our loved one, the war goes on) I can tell you he is spot on to the problem with this book and his other writing on the topic. He has recommendations as to the direction of the solution but the action to reach it lies with you and I.
I�m in are you?
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bruce H on August 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am currently investigating several different ethical/public policy issues: homosexuality (i.e. advocating the behavior in schools, marriage), abortion, and euthanasia.
The author of this book is the lead lawyer of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, an organization that opposes all forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
One of the changes that has made this discussion meaningful is the discussion between humane care and medical treatment. Humane care would include food, heat, washing etc; the basics, if you will. Medical treatment would be drugs, surgery and so on. In some recent US Supreme Court case, certain types of humane treatment has been reclassified as medical treatment (e.g. water and food). The significance of the change is this; patients cannot refuse humane treatment but they can refuse medical treatments, at a certain point (or have others refuse medical treatments on their behalf).
There are sections that document the development of euthanasia in the United States through court cases and attempted legislation (in the 1930's and the present).
There are sections on the Holland called, "Dutch Treat," is particularly good. Holland is the only country that where euthanasia is widely available (Holland made it totally legal on November 28, 2000). Smith shows the progression in Holland, how the guidelines are routinely violated and so on. One of the scary problems is INvoluntary euthanasia: 1,040 people (an average of 3 per day) died from involuntary euthanasia, meaning that doctors actively killed these patients without the patients' knowledge or consent.
Smith shows that the euthanasia agenda would endanger the disabled, the ill, the elderly, those with low education, minorities etc...
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bill Muehlenberg VINE VOICE on January 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a revision and expansion of his earlier work of 1999. In it he brings up to date recent developments in the euthanasia wars. But the same concern for where society is heading, and the same call for action is found in this volume.

Smith argues that modern medicine is undergoing a seismic shift, as is that of the surrounding culture. Whereas societies and their medical practitioners once believed that saving life and protecting life was our highest and most noble calling, they have now come to see that killing in the name of compassion is both justified and necessary.

What has brought about such a radical shift in values and priorities? Smith argues that a number of inter-related causes can be mentioned. There is the "moral Balkanization" of Western culture, with a loss in moral absolutes and religious convictions. Then there is the elevation of personal autonomy as the highest virtue.

Also there is a very sophisticated political machine pushing the euthanasia agenda. Backed with big bucks and extensive marketing research, it has become adept at selling euthanasia. With plenty of euphemisms, misinformation and scare tactics, it is managing to convince many that death is desirable, and life is not.

And then there is the bottom line of money. The huge blowout in medical costs for the elderly makes the euthanasia alternative seem very tempting indeed. It is a major savings to bump off the elderly instead of treating them.

The hazards of legalizing euthanasia are many. Suffering would increase, not decrease. For example, the funding and research on problems like AIDS could easily be cut, with the idea that it would be better for these people simply to die.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I have read that deals exclusively with the subject of euthanasia but Wesley J. Smith's compelling arguments have ensured that it will not be the last. The statistics in this book about the Netherlands alone are horrifying and yet, unfortunately, not especially surprising. Once you have crossed the line between forbidding and permitting physicians to kill, how can you prevent them from believing that they know best regardless of the guidelines that are supposed to prevent them from ending their patients' lives even against the explicit wishes and fears of those patients? As euthanasia enthusiasts push their agenda in the media, it is important that people like Smith reveal the true nature and consequences of their arguments. In spite of assurances to the contrary, even cautiously starting down the path to the death culture will lead to inevitable nightmare consequences like those seen in the Netherlands. To the "death fundamentalists" there is nothing particularly troubling about that; to the rest of us this horrifying example should be enough to halt us all in our tracks.
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