Dr. Fabian Greaves of the University of Cincinnati is raising eyebrows with a controversial new approach to Euthanasia, but he is already seeing a groundswell of support from civil libertarians and human rights advocates.
"Basically, the proposals I've made are not new:" Greaves asserts. "I've just taken good, solid jurisprudence and applied it to the Euthanasia debate"
At the heart of Dr. Greave's dynamic new proposal is the equivalence he draws between in-vivo termination and the right-to-die.
"Look at it this way: no-one knows when life begins, right? A lot of handwaving occurs, but most people say it's somewhere after the first trimester. OK, so we don't know when life begins. So how do we know when it ends? Just cause someone's not breathing? Give me a break!"
Dr. Greaves asserts that the moment of death, like the moment of life, cannot be determined scientifically. Failing a clear 'inflection point', society must leave leeway or risk infringing on civil liberties.
"He's got it just right," affirms Ms. Tellewanda Kroup of Greater Cincinnati Planned Parenthood. "First they go telling you when people are alive and then they go telling you when they're dead."
Critics argue that Greaves' theory could mean fundamental changes in the rights of the elderly, but Dr. Greaves remains convinced of the validity of his approach.
"It's no surprise to me that the usual suspects are all up in arms about this. I mean, everybody with a PhD after their name knows that the Catholics and Fundamentalists are going to be gunning for them every time they put pen to paper. But it doesn't change the hard science. And the hard science says this: For at least three months before someone is really dead, I mean, dead in the sense of not breathing, having no brain function, and whatnot, they can be considered to be legally dead."
True to Dr. Greave's predictions, Philip Dbrovickiswicz of Cincinnati LifeForce, an anti-choice organization, said "This guy's an idiot. He's wanting to kill people three months before they die? And how does he know they're going to die on a specific date? Is anybody listening? Hello?"
But Kroup has a quick answer for such zealotry: "To people like Dbrovickiswicz, I say: Keep Your Compline off my Suicide Machine!"
Legal experts say that Dr. Greaves' approach bears initial scrutiny. "He's got a good case," responded Jack Corvelle of Corvelle, Plebe,and Dawkins, a Cincinnati legal team specializing in suing Roman Catholics.
"All these anti-choice fanatics can't stand in the way of progress, and progress means killing people three months before they were going to die anyway," Greaves asserts. "They can get their Archbishops down on their knees praying all they want, but damn it! We're going to make life a lot easier for a lot of suffering elderly."
Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati is surprised by his characterization as an opponent. "I think they've got me confused with that guy from LifeForce because we've both got a lot of consonants in our names. Frankly, I think Greaves' idea is intriguing, and we ought not judge too quickly. The Church is here for the whole person. As Catholics, we have done a terrible job in explaining the position of the Church. Certain things like the Vatican's prohibition against euthanasia are really a sort of invitation to dialog, rather than some sort of wholesale rejection. After all, the quasicanonical Gospel of Herod clearly states 'and ye shall slay them on whatever day ye find them," and that, I think, is not so easily dismissed, even by our radical traditionalists."
But reassurances from the Archdiocese are not likely to mollify the grassroots supporters of Dr. Greaves, who find themselves energized and enthusiastic about the possibility of progress. "This is a new era," gushes Melanie Hart, a pro-choice case worker, "this is not about responding to problems, like in children-by-choice. Now this is about getting ahead of the problems. I mean, now we're even taking death out of the hands of that white-bearded old God. It's like we're saying: We're here! We decide. Get used to it."