The proponents of assisted suicide would have us believe that those who oppose the practice are somehow condemning people to a miserable life filled with despair. A persons quality of life is determined not by the people who surround them, but by their own choices.
by Ann Hinds
“Do not be a fool-why die before your time?” Ecclesiastes 7:17
Both sides had a lot to say. William Peace, who was part of the audience and disabled himself, wrote an elegant post on his Bad Cripple Blog with the same thoughts that hit me during the show. Talking about the woman (Dana) who wanted to end her life, Mr. Peace shared his thoughts. “In the next segment, Dr. Oz brought on two more panel guests, Dr. Ira Byock and Barbara Coombs Lee from Compassion and Choices. Dr. Byock was very good, stating there was no need for assisted suicide given the availability of good palliative care. He pointed out to Dana that she could refuse treatment. He did so in a very gentle way. He asked her, "Do you want to tell your doctors, maybe next time you're hospitalized with pneumonia, that you'd rather not have them do anything, let nature take its course?” Dana did not answer. Dr. Oz quickly stepped in. “Let her answer” Nadina (the wife of the next guest) yelled out, “she doesn't want to die.” But Dr. Oz had quickly changed the subject.”
Dana's quality of life is not what she wants but Danny Robert, who was the next guest on the show, had something to say as well. He shared, "...my physical condition is outwardly very similar to hers, and my need for a ventilator is actually greater than hers. So I told my story, including my MS diagnoses, the break-up of my marriage, how bleak the future appeared to me then, and the resulting near-suicidal depression. I said how glad I was that no lethal prescription was available for me then. I said that meeting disabled people and becoming part of an activist community got me out of the depression. That I fell in love with Nadina 18 years ago and, in spite of my losing function and at times becoming depressed, I lead a full, rich and very happy life.”
The proponents of assisted suicide would have us believe that those who oppose the practice are somehow condemning people to a miserable life filled with despair. A persons quality of life is determined not by the people who surround them, but by their own choices. How is it that Danny has a great life and Dana is the miserable victim of a crippling disease? Like Dr. Byock suggested, Dana could just refuse treatment and leave the earth on her own terms. What I really suspect is that she wants someone to make the decision for her, which absolves her from any guilt.
Assisted suicide demeans humanity. It forces people to make a choice to be on one side or the other. My beliefs tell me that there is only one side and I will not be responsible for the death of another. The pro-choice websites are full of rational reasons why assisted suicide should be allowed. Our society has lost its way and while what the Pro-choice groups have to say may seems reasonable, it puts us all in the path of a decision that should never be ours.
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