Advocates rally around PA assisted suicide case

(Philadelphia) — A Philadelphia nurse has become the latest lightning rod in the nation’s long-running debate over assisted suicide.


Photo by Compassion and Choices

Barbara Mancini and her father Joe Yourshaw.

Fifty-seven-year-old Barbara Mancini is accused of giving a bottle of morphine to her dying father, 93-year-old Joe Yourshaw of Schuylkill County.

While four states allow some types of assisted suicide, the majority outlaw the practice.

Advocates for end-of-life choices say Mancini’s criminal case will lead the terminally ill to avoid talking to loved ones about their wishes.

The group Compassion & Choices has criticized Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane for pursuing the case. Amid a gag order, Kane’s office isn’t commenting. Medical ethicist Art Caplan says most assisted suicide cases “are motivated by love … or mercy.” But he believes it’s important to review them, because of the potential for abuse.

The Mancini case is the subject of this episode of witf‘s Radio Smart Talk.