In America, two states, Washington and Oregon, legally allow assisted suicides for terminally ill patients who choose to end their lives. 34 states have laws making assisting suicide a crime, and the remaining states have laws somewhere in between, or do not have an official stand on the matter. The Supreme Court has ruled that it is up to the individual states to decide on this issue, without federal interference.
While I believe that life is precious, I also believe that a person who is mentally competent and suffering from an incurable disease should have the right to make the decision to die with dignity, and that physicians should be allowed to provide them with prescriptions to do so.
I have heard people who oppose suicide say that it is the quitter’s way out, and there is some validity to that claim. If an angst-ridden teenager or a depressed adult just chooses not to deal with life anymore, is it okay to end it?
I don’t think so. There have been times in my past when I have been so far down emotionally that the easiest thing in the world would have been to pick up a gun, or turn into the path of an oncoming train. But I’m too much of a coward to do so, and I couldn’t do that to my kids. And guess what? I eventually came out on the other side of the crisis, and now I can’t wait to get up every morning and see what life holds for me today.
On the flip side, I knew guys who vowed during their time in combat to save their last bullet for themselves, because they knew they could not withstand being taken prisoner. I don’t think I could have handled that ordeal either.
I watched my father die a horrible death from cancer, and when he began to go downhill, my mother asked me to take his guns out of the house, which I did. But, as his disease worsened, I can’t honestly say I could have refused him if he asked me to bring him a pistol. Dad said he would never do that to my mother, but I do believe that he should have had the option to end his life with a prescription, if he chose to, in comfort and surrounded by his family.
I believe in the right to die with dignity. I have an Advance Directive stating that if I am in a vegetative state with no reasonable chance of recovering, that no artificial means be used to keep me alive.
There is a time when death is coming and you can’t stop it, but I do believe that if you are in that position and cannot handle the suffering, you should have the right to speed up the inevitable. We do that for the pets we love, so why should we deny it to the people we love?
Yes, I know that it’s a grim subject, but not everything in life is sunshine. It’s something any of us may be faced with someday. How do you feel about this issue?
Tags: Advance Directive, angst-ridden teenager, assisted suicides, cancer, combat, die with dignity, incurable disease, mentally competent, Oregon, physicians, suicide, Supreme Court, terminally ill patients, Washington