Bioethics for Breakfast: Legalizing Physician-Assisted Death: Should Michigan Be Next?

bioethics-for-breakfastTom Tomlinson, PhD, and Ed Rivet, MPA, presented at last Thursday morning’s Bioethics for Breakfast event, offering opposing views on the topic, “Legalizing Physician-Assisted Death: Should Michigan Be Next?”

Physician-assisted death (also known as physician-assisted suicide) is now legal in four states, either through legislation (Vermont), ballot initiative (Oregon and Washington) or state supreme court ruling (Montana). With a favorable February ruling by Judge Nan Nash of the New Mexico Second Judicial District (now under appeal by the state Attorney General), New Mexico may be next. An attempt in Michigan in 1998 (Proposal B) was overwhelmingly defeated, 79% to 21%, despite pre-ballot polling that suggested overwhelming support.

In the discussion, speakers and attendees explored this debate and tried to decide: if another proposal were brought before Michigan voters, should it pass this time?

Tom Tomlinson, Ph.D.
Tom Tomlinson is Director of the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University.

Ed Rivet, MPA
Ed Rivet is Legislative Director for Right to Life of Michigan.

About Bioethics for Breakfast:
In 2010, Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman invited the Center for Ethics to partner on a bioethics seminar series. The Center for Ethics and Hall Render invite guests from the health professions, religious and community organizations, political circles, and the academy to engage in lively discussions of topics spanning the worlds of bioethics, health law, business, and policy. For each event, the Center selects from a wide range of controversial issues and provides two presenters either from our own faculty or invited guests, who offer distinctive, and sometimes clashing, perspectives. Those brief presentations are followed by a moderated open discussion.