Chief Rabbi Strongly Condemns Assisted Suicide

The “physician-assisted suicide” bill, which was approved Sunday by the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs has been met with fierce criticism in the rabbinical world.

Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Rav Dovid Lau slammed the bill, saying that a doctor is permitted to ease a patient’s suffering, but not to put a patient to death. The Chotam rabbinical forum wrote that the proposed law would “aid suicide.”

“A doctor is given the job of healing, and when he is incapable of healing – he has no permission to put to death,” the chief rabbi ruled. “He may provide painkillers even if they bring the time of death closer, but he is not permitted to put a patient to death.” . . . [Full text]

Lawmakers clash over euthanasia bill

Legislation would allow doctors to facilitate assisted suicide for terminal patients without criminal repercussions

The Times of Israel

Aron Dónzis

A day after Israeli ministers gave the go-ahead to a bill regulating assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, the country’s minister for senior citizens appealed the decision, saying he would work to “save the legal system from this pill of death.”

Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) submitted an appeal Monday to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation against the euthanasia bill approved Sunday by MKs Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid) and Zahava Gal-on (Meretz).

The bill, passed Sunday by a majority vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, states that a patient defined as “terminal” could be granted a prescription for a lethal dose of anesthetics, and the prescribing doctor could not be held criminally responsible. . . . [Full text]

Prescribing drugs to secure religious conformity: question of conscience?

Haaretz reports that psychiatric drugs are being prescribed to members of the ultra-orthodox Jewish Haredi community to suppress sexual urges and help them to conform to religious prohibitions against masturbation, homosexual conduct and frequent sexual relations.  A posting on the Practical Ethics blog of Oxford University asks whether or not psychiatrists may, for reasons of conscience, refuse to prescribe drugs for this reason.  The writer, quoting Julian Salvulescu’s denunciation of freedom of conscience in health care, reasons “a psychiatrist has no ground for conscientious objection and should provide the treatment to Haredim,” but ultimately concludes that this seems “intuitively incorrect.”