Living Wills
They sound good, but ...

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Living Wills are Unnecessary and Dangerous for Patients, Doctors and Society

Living Wills are documents being promoted as necessary to provide assurance that people will die peacefully and with dignity. There is an intense lobbying effort to make them legally binding. But Living Wills can be harmful rather than helpful.

Learn the facts before you sign a Living Will or support laws making Living Wills legally binding documents.

What is a Living Will?

Why are Legally Binding Living Wills Unnecessary?

Why are Legally Binding Living Wills Dangerous for Patients, Doctors, and Society?

Should Every Treatment be Applied to Every Patient in Every Circumstance?

No, of course not. Neither present law nor the moral position of any church nor any right-to-life organization requires that every form of treatment be applied to every patient in every circumstance. If a patient is imminently dying, it is both good medicine and good morals to withdraw useless treatment that would only prolong the dying process with no benefit to the patient.

But, there is an alarming trend to define food and water as "medical treatments" which can be considered optional for a given patient rather than ordinary care to which all are entitled.

The concept of the Living Will originated with organizations such as Concern for Dying (formerly known as the Euthanasia Education Council), the Society for the Right to Die (formerly known as the Euthanasia Society of America), and the Hemlock Society.

The strategy of these groups is to use Living Wills to condition public acceptance of assisted suicide, mercy killing, and legalized euthanasia. This has happened in the attempted referendum in California in 1988, that failed due to lack of sufficient signatures.

"Euthanasia forces are abroad in this land as never before ... the euthanasia movement is assuming the proportions of a juggernaut."
Dr. C. Everett Koop
United States Surgeon General


1 "Uniform Rights of the Terminally Ill Act" adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, August, 1985.

Posted 6 Sep 2000.

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Original flyer Copyright 1993 by Cincinnati Right to Life.
This version Copyright 1996 by Ohio Right to Life.
Some material adapted from a flyer by MCCL.
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