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Max Brantley: Letting People Make Decisions About Their Own Medical Treatment Is Really Dangerous

Updated: Apr 13

Max Brantley has compiled a list of quasi-arguments against “right to try” legislation, which is the label for the proposal that passed out of Senate Public Health yesterday to let the terminally ill try potentially life-saving drugs that have received preliminary government approval. He explains that “right to try” has “many flaws.” Here’s his list.

  1. It’s not an entitlement. Therefore, “right to try” is a bad idea, because it does not obligate manufacturers to give out their products for free.

  2. The “right to try” proposal gives “false hope” because the legislation provides no assurance of access and no guarantee of financial support.

  3. Terminally ill people who are willing to explore the option of experimental treatment might suffer side effects.

  4. This legislation hasn’t helped anyone yet.

For your convenience, I paraphrase Brantley’s view in this paragraph. The terminally ill should not be allowed to make their own medical decisions. They shouldn’t be allowed to suffer false hope or make risky choices. That is because they aren’t entitled to false hope: in fact, what they are entitled to is no hope at all. Or, more precisely: what they are entitled to is death. There is an important American document that talks about the importance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those who oppose “right to try” should, perhaps, take a look.

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