The Awkward Poser is not inclined towards politics, but there is a question on the Massachusetts ballot in November that I believe transcends politics and goes to America’s core identity as a land of free choice; I hope that all eligible voters will support the proposed Death with Dignity law in Massachusetts.
A similar law, which allows people of sound mind with terminal illness to self-administer life-ending drugs, has been in effect in Washington state for about a decade. During that time a few hundred people have availed themselves of the opportunity to terminate their lives in the face of debilitating and painful deaths. There has been no evidence of anyone being coerced into ending their lives, or any cases where people who do not fit the strict requirements of sound mind have been allowed to access life ending drugs. In fact, the majority of people who go through the process to qualify and receive the drugs never take them, they are simply a peace of mind placebo.
We Americans take pride in our individuality and the right to make our own decisions. For the vast number of Americans the provisions of this law violate their religious or moral code, but citizenship requires us not only to secure the freedoms we cherish, but also to safeguard the freedoms of others. Even if conscience prohibits you from considering such a means to end life, please be tolerant of others with a different point of view and give them the opportunity to take control of their death with the same security with which we take control of our rights in life.
Paul, thank you for sharing your ‘balanced’ views. I have a dear friend who is actively yet slowly dying of breast cancer that has metastasized to her bones. She is now denying herself food and water to hasten the end of her life that is filled with constant pain. Why, in the light of our enlightened society, must she be the one to slowly starve and dehydrate herself into an ending of an incredibly devastating existence. She is surrounded by her family who are taking wonderful, loving care of her and they are having to actualize her request to withhold these basics to aid her in her quest to die. She fought a great fight to survive as long as there was hope – I so wish we had laws and procedures in place to lovingly assist her in this final portion of her life.
We can give the blessing of respite from pain to our pets, but not our parents. I am soon to move to Oregon, which also allows a patient and doctor to make this informed choice, and it is a welcome though as I approach 62 (still healthy).