For those of us committed to enactment of Medical Aid in Dying legislation across the country, the writings of Judge Gorsuch give us pause. In a full length book and several law review articles, Gorsuch is unambiguous in his disdain for such laws. He views the practice, based on worst case scenarios extrapolated from a limited data sampling as of 2002 of the Oregon and Dutch experience, as a parade of horribles. And yet, in 2017, we now have a score years of statistics compiled by the Oregon Department of Health, which show zero cases of abuse, error, euthanasia or discrimination. It is as if Judge Gorsuch in 2002 said to the proponents of Medical Aid in Dying: “I am pretty sure your little experiment will fail in a torrent of predictable horrors, so there is no need to continue, but if you do, I, and my fellow skeptics, will be watching!”
We can hope Judge Gorsuch is a man of his word, because the dis-sync between his predicted outcomes and the actual results is so dramatic that he should be invited to revisit his writings and update his conclusions. Either Judge Gorsuch was an ideologue hiding in an empiricist’s clothing, or he is in fact a rational jurist who lets the facts determine his beliefs.
Ed Tiryakian, J.D., MBA, founded Dying Right NC in 2015 and is its Executive Director. He previously worked in international banking in Asia before retiring to his native NC.He believes End of Life issues are one of society’s most pressing challenges as we all live longer and the medicalization of the dying process continues to conflict with the individual’s right to choose his or her end.