Contained in this report are two letters-to-the Editor in the Saturday Contra Costa Times “Letters” section.
There were a total of 8 such letters. Five of them pro death by medically assisted death and 3 opposed to any legalization of assisted suicide.
The two letters I've included best represent, in my opinion, their positions and I applaud the pro-life letter writer. I've deleted the names of the letter writers. If you would like, you may access the Letters page of the Saturday Contra Costa Times, November 15, 2014, to see all the letters.
Encouraging people to take charge of their own death; time, place and method, is quickly becoming the norm in medicine. Many Pro life activists predict that this coming legislative term will see a huge push for legislation establishing suicide as just another medical choice like abortion is just another reproductive medical choice.
I had a phone call yesterday from a very anxious young man who said that his father, age 61, was in a local San Francisco Bay area hospital where the doctors and nurses were heavily pressuring him and the wife (who spoke little English) to consign the father/husband to transfer to a senior care facility where he would receive palliative care only.
I referred the young man to Dr. Paul Byrne (the doctor who spoke in defense of Jahi McMath's case) who spoke with him by phone providing him with the confidence and information he needed to withstand the pressure and protect the father's life. The young man said that he and his mother had been sleeping by the father's side in the hospital to protect him.
This, of course. Like abortion, is not choice. It's coercion.
Another article in today's paper reports on a California Highway Patrol officer who talked a man out of jumping off the Bay Bridge. Further, the article says that CHP officers are given courses in how to dissuade jumpers. Isn't this a sad irony? Why doesn't the medical profession see the value in saving a life while the Highway Patrol Officers do?
Groups like Compassion and Choices, Hospice, and others have opened a Pandora's box of death dressing it up in a garment called palliative care to look so pretty and tempting. Think for a moment on just what the word “pall” means. My Merriam/Webster dictionary says its a covering draped over a coffin. We have become a country exceedingly more confused in our values. But if you are informed and prepared to protect life you and your descendants will survive.
I've always wondered why the 23rd Psalm is read at funerals. It is a poem to the living, of the love of God for his created followers, a sign of hope. “Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil.” We are walking through this death valley now. God will give us the strength and courage to live His commands.
Here follow the two letters:
Californians deserve choice on the issue
The key word in your question is "dignity." Yes, we should have such a law.
Everyone will die someday and we all hope this transition into the unknown, or other place based on one's belief, will come after a long and healthy life, in our sleep, of natural causes. We also know that this is unlikely.
Unfortunately, thousands of people every year are diagnosed with diseases the medical professionals cannot cure and, therefore, are sentenced to an early death.
In California, we have authorized the state to execute certain criminals. Some executions are delayed because the concoction of drugs administered causes pain and suffering to the inmate.
It is clear that, even for this gruesome act, there is a need for some dignity. If our worst criminals deserve dignity in dying, our law-abiding citizens deserve the choice to legal access for ending their lives with medical assistance and in dignity.
Pursuing such a law is an inhuman agenda
Government support for suicide inevitably means its numbers will increase, as Europe, where several countries legalized suicide, proves. Today, Europe's state-supported suicides are increasing rapidly, eligibility is expanding.
Euthanasia in Belgium is up 500 percent in a decade. Recently, 43-year-old deaf twins committed legal suicide because they feared becoming blind. This year, Belgium granted children the "right" to suicide.
In the Netherlands, doctors are discussing how to encourage more legal suicide. The motivation? A shortage of organ donors.
Moreover, medical diagnoses are fallible. A Memphis man with a brain condition similar to Brittany Maynard's was given six months to live -- 13 years ago.
My younger sister fought cancer to her last breath, living much longer than predicted.
Finally, many people who contemplate ending their lives change their minds. One CHP officer has talked 200 people out of jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Europe's government-controlled expansion and growth certainly will repeat here if state-supported suicide becomes our policy.
Government-approved suicide is a horribly inhuman course for a civilized society.
Spero columnist Camille Giglio is a freelance journalist who resides in California.