Cover image for Forced exit : the slippery slope from assisted suicide to legalized murder
Forced exit : the slippery slope from assisted suicide to legalized murder
Smith, Wesley J.
Personal Author:
Revised and updated [edition].
Publication Information:
Dallas, Tex. : Spence Pub., [2003]

Physical Description:
xxxii, 364 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
R726 .S576 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
R726 .S576 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Piercing the emotionalism, fear-mongering, and euphemisms of the assisted-suicide movement, Wesley Smith's new book exposes the attempt to strip the sick and disabled of their human dignity. One of the nation's leading writers on euthanasia delivers a badly needed dose of clear thinking and genuine compassion.

Through original reporting, exhaustive research, historical analysis, and extensive interviews, Smith makes a compelling case against legalizing assisted suicide. He explores the truly humane and compassionate alternatives that can change a death wish into a desire to live.

The first comprehensive response to the assisted-suicide movement, Forced Exit changed the debate when it was originally published eight years ago. Now thoroughly revised and updated to keep pace with the movement's advance, this important book provides chilling evidence of how powerful and dangerous the death culture in America has become.

Author Notes

Mr. Smith is an attorney for the Anti-Euthanasia Task Force. He lives with his family in San Francisco Bay Area.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Smith, coauthor of Nader's recent books on insurance (1993), airline safety (1993), and "power lawyers" [BKL S 1 96], 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

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lawyer and anti-euthanasia advocate Smith (The Senior Citizens' Handbook) takes a strong position against assisted suicide in this study. He bases his opposition to "mercy killing," as advocated by the Hemlock Society and as practiced by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, on the growing acceptance of assisted suicide, which in turn, he claims, has led to unnecessary deaths of those who suffer from inadequate medical care and depression. Drawing on research from the Netherlands, where assisted suicide is legal, Smith demonstrates that euthanasia is on the rise and is practiced on not only the terminally ill, but on the chronically ill and disabled as well. He predicts that the emphasis on cutting costs by profit-driven, managed-care plans in the U. S. will result in a policy of killing those requiring long-term care if assisted suicide becomes legal. Despite his strong feelings, Smith rarely lapses into polemic and presents viable alternatives for seriously ill patients, such as adequate pain management and quality hospice care. He convincingly argues that withdrawing a patient from feeding tubes leads to an agonizing death from dehydration. Author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In this significant update of a candid book (1st ed., CH, Feb'98), much has changed: Dr. Jack Kevorkian was brought down by his hubris and convicted of murder. He is in prison, but the movement known as Kevorkianism has arisen from incompetent application of the Oregon Assisted Suicide law and farcical Dutch protections, so well documented here. The complicity of university leaders, clergy, and the failures of guardians ad litem, are all on display. There are many new accounts of serious errors; though anecdotal individually, together they show a failed system and false notions of the role of physicians and the inner meanings of human existence. For example, Australian citizen Nancy Crick, said to be dying from cancer, was found at autopsy not to have cancer but an easily treated intestinal disorder. The US is now reassessing the death penalty, spurred by proofs of poor criminal investigations and incompetent attorneys. Surely as thorough a review of policy and procedure is warranted when persons offer or ask for assisted suicide as when the state determines to put someone to death. Outstanding--a must read for all. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels. D. R. Shanklin University of Chicago

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Revised Editionp. xi
Introductionp. xvii
A Note on Terminologyp. xxix
Acknowledgmentsp. xxx
1 Death Fundamentalismp. 3
2 Disposable Peoplep. 42
3 Everything Old Is New Againp. 81
4 Dutch Treatp. 107
5 Inventing the Right to Diep. 140
6 The Betrayal of Medicinep. 174
7 Euthanasia as a Form of Oppressionp. 214
8 Common Arguments for Euthanasiap. 243
9 Hospice or Hemlock?p. 279
Resourcesp. 317
Notesp. 327
Indexp. 351