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Ask Faye 1 – Killing Me Softly: A Rational Approach to Suicide in a Technocratic, Humanistic Age


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/10/22

Faye Girsh is the Founder and the Past President of the Hemlock Society of San Diego. She was the President of the National Hemlock Society (Defunct) and the World Federation of RTD Societies (Extant). Currently, she is on the Advisory Board of the Final Exit Network and the Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization.

Here we talk about rational suicide.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is the work of rational suicide, dying with dignity, euthanasia, and the like?

Faye Girsh: The Right to Die movement attempts to relieve suffering and provide peace of mind to those (suffering from) ENDURING severe, chronic or terminal illnesses (or conditions) by providing legal means for a peaceful death when no other solutions are available or acceptable.

Suicide is a legal option but, to achieve a peaceful and dignified death, assistance is often necessary. ASSISTING A SUICIDE IS NOT LEGAL EXCEPT IN THOSE STATES AND COUNTRIES WITH AN AID IN DYING LAW.

We believe people should be able to choose a non-violent, quick and certain death consistent with their values and beliefs.

Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, how are these important for the general advancement of a humanistic ethic?

Girsh: Alleviating suffering, promoting choice and control of one’s life are all achieved by permitting a gentle death of one’s choosing.

Jacobsen: What makes a particular effort to advance rational suicide more effective than others? 

Girsh: A lot has to do with the ethos of the country or community. Surveys tell us that opposition to a humane death is correlated with the frequency of church attendance.  Religious opposition to control over one’s own life and death stems from a hierarchical system in which humans are at the bottom.

One’s fate is predetermined or determined by a higher authority. Independent thinking is punished by adverse results in an afterlife. In the US those states where church attendance is low have been the ones who MORE READILY HAVE permittED aid in dying, eg., Oregon, Washington, and California — and now there are more.

Many religious people now see that the alleviation of unnecessary suffering is consistent with their beliefs and support aid in dying. 

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Faye.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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