Saturday, February 28, 2015

Letter to the editor of The Day regarding physician-assisted suicide

Dear Editor,

I would like to add a few reasons of my own for opposing physician-assisted suicide.

I believe that it is contradictory for us as a society to tell at-risk teenagers and veterans suffering from PTSD that suicide is not the solution to their grief and suffering when we turn around and hand a poison pill to those suffering in other ways. 

I believe that the push to legalize PAS is not for the benefit of those who are ill.  After all, law or no, a person can find a way to end his life if he really wishes it.  It’s not like the person who takes his own life has to worry about the legal consequences of such an action.  No, physician assisted suicide is to make it legal for family and friends to be complicit in taking the life of their terminally ill loved one. 

As I understand, those who choose PAS will have their cause of death listed as their underlying terminal illness, not the poison pill they willfully ingested.  Such falsification is designed to avoid nullifying death benefits on insurance policies.  It is easy to see where this can be an occasion of temptation and abuse.

[200 word break, the following will be included in my letter to legislators]

In The Day’s February 24, 2015, article, “Medical, Catholic groups oppose bill to allow suicide drug prescriptions,” Tim Appleton of Compassion and Choices sought to downplay objections that physician assisted suicide would in the future become a mandatory aspect of healthcare: “A physician wouldn't be forced to write a prescription, and a pharmacist wouldn't be forced to fill it.” 

However, such a statement is, in my opinion, either naïve or duplicitous.  Such reassurances were given to opponents of same sex marriage, and yet the news has had stories of bakers, photographers and marriage planners who have had their livelihoods threatened by lawsuits from same-sex couples who were denied service to their weddings. 

Lastly, I believe that the push toward such legalization is supported strongly by those who want the United States to become a single-payer health care system.  The problem with such a system is that people cease to be the customers of the health care industry, and instead become costs.  Any business owner will agree that customers are to be served, while costs are to be reduced.  I believe legalizing physician-assisted suicide is a step in the process towards euthanasia for those deemed unfit.