From: Debbie Sheets
I’m writing in response to a recent article about Catholicism and “physician assisted suicide.” I am a member and supporter of an organization called Compassion and Choices (www.compassionandchoices.org) which supports changing law to allow for physician aid in dying for people who are at the end of their life due to a life ending disease. Physician aid in dying is legal in six states currently. There is over 20 years of experience with this law in the state of Oregon, upon which the more recently enacted laws in other states are based. People who seek this assistance are not committing suicide. They do no want to die (ie suicide); they are already dying and they wish to avoid the way their disease will ultimately take their life. Many disease processes have a horrible trajectory and many people believe there is nothing to be gained by such suffering. If anyonze does, they need never avail themselves of physician aid in dying; but please don’t keep others from having it legally available to them. In the article it says “life and death should be in God’s hands,” but we do planned inductions and scheduled C-sections for laboring moms bringing life into the world, and we have amazing medical technology to prolong life, yet we seem to think there is something wrong with helping the dying to labor out of this world. “Life is sacred” the people in the article say, but why do we insist that those who are already dying should meet a potentially horrible end that some may wish to avoid if they could do so legally?
Not being heard by your family, not being supported by your state, forced into something illegal if you are to do what you think is best for you, are all very isolating and demoralizing; not a good position for the dying person to be, and a lot of sadness for the family who is then emotionally separated from their loved one, even before his life ended.
You don’t have to want legal physician aid in dying for yourself; just please don’t keep it from those of us who do. We treat our beloved animals better at the end of their lives than we treat our humans. We can do better.