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Sunday, December 18, 2005


The Right to Die - Switzerland Takes the Lead

Secular Europe's Humane Approach
"Human life consists in mutual service. No grief, pain, misfortune, or "broken heart," is excuse for cutting off one's life while any power of service remains. But when all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one."
--Charlotte Perkins Gilman, American author (1860-1935)

While our government is determined to do all it can to trample over state's rights and override Oregon's Death With Dignity Act of 1997, according to a report in the BBC a hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, has announced that "......it will allow assisted suicide on its premises for terminally ill patients." Earlier, doctors and church leaders in Britain dropped their opposition to voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill patients who clearly express their wish for assistance in dying.

Now, before the religious right and others who oppose such measures throw a fit they should read the details of what the Swiss plan means. No one is going to be forced to die. There are enough safeguards to satisfy all but those who feel that end of life is an issue left in the hands of higher powers. The disturbing part is that the zealots want to impose their will on the rest of us. The Bush administration's challenge to Oregon's law is based on use of drugs covered by the federal Controlled Substances Act for the purpose of suicide. Ruling on the case Gonzalez v. Oregon and the Right to Die, heard by the Supreme Court in October 2005, is expected to be issued in the summer of 2006.

I feel very strongly about the 'right to die' and have trouble understanding the suspicions about it. I suppose there is the fear that relatives will knock off pesky terminally ill family members? That terminally ill people cannot make these decisions? Death can be a mercifully human decision.
I recall someone I knew,terminally ill, in pain, anguish, begging to die. I recall being told all was being done to manage the pain, and that little could be done for the intense sadness... it felt cruel to me. She said that watching the pained faces of people at her pillow, hearing the voices of people talking in the house, it was too much to bear. I cannot judge those feelings or be critical of such emotions, terminally ill people often go through stages that include some intense emotional pain and grief. And the physical discomfort, the waiting to die... for what? If it is inevitable, why not give the final gift of dignity and choice?
I can't understand the arguments against. if abuse is what you fear, safeguard against that but don;t let people suffer because you cannot control the correct circumstantial application...
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