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Why is it the state’s business how and when Gloria decides to go?
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, February 07, 2008

Again, it is a question of ownership and who has the final say about your life:
After reading the Personal Health column on Nov. 27 on preventing geriatric suicide, Gloria C. Phares, a 93-year-old retired teacher in Missouri, wrote:

“I was healthy until 90, and then Boom! Atrial fibrillation; deaf, can’t enjoy music or hear a voice unless 10 inches from my ear; fell, fractured my thigh and am now a cripple; had a slight stroke the day after my beloved husband died after 61 years of marriage.

“I’ve lived a happy life, but from here on out it’s all downhill. Is there any point in my living any longer? I’m not living — just existing. I very much want to die, but our society doesn’t let me. Oh for a pill to ease myself out and end my pain, pain, pain.”
Why shouldn't that be Mrs. Phares decision? Why doesn't she have that option?

Obviously she can find a way to kill herself. The question is why shouldn't she have the option of choosing a graceful way (even an assisted way) to end what she has come to consider something she'd rather not prolong?
 
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Mrs. Phares sounds intelligent enough to know how to kill herself if that’s what she wants. The world and people around her shouldn’t have the power to do it for her. If they did, they would surely be encouraged to exercise that power for people who didn’t want to die, or especially in cases where people were unable to say "no."

This is not a difficult thing to figure out.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Because people wanted Teri’s life controled by the government.

That’s why they feel the power is theirs.

It’s exactly what I said would happen, too.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
That’s just silly Martin, or a very poorly made strawman - take your pick. The point wasn’t about killing people who don’t want to die or knocking off people who are unable to say no. It’s about those who would choose to be done and being helped along with that decision. Five lines of comment is not a difficult thing to figure out, no?
 
Written By: Robert S
URL: http://
Well, Scott J., at least on this issue we agree. What disgusts me is people that don’t allow her a dignified way out because they claim to be defending "life." That suggests a misunderstanding of what "life" means.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This is a portion an argument against legalizing assisted suicide.
Under the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, legislative classifications that restrict constitutional rights are subject to strict scrutiny and will be struck down unless narrowly tailored to further a compelling governmental interest. ... A right to choose death for oneself would also probably extend to incompetent individuals. ... [A] number of lower courts have held that an incompetent patient does not lose his or her right to consent to termination of life-supporting care by virtue of his or her incompetency.... [T]he ["substituted judgment"] doctrine authorizes—indeed, requires—a substitute decision maker, whether the court or a designated third party, to decide what the incompetent person would choose, if that person were competent. ... Therefore infants, those with mental illness, retarded people, confused or senile elderly individuals, and other incompetent people would be entitled to have someone else enforce their right to die.15

Thus, if direct killing is legalized on request of a competent person, under court precedents that have already been set, someone who is not competent could be killed at the direction of that person’s guardian even though the incompetent patient had never expressed a desire to be killed.
It sounds like a long winded way of saying slippery slope.

As far as I am concerned, it’s another way of saying that the government knows what’s best for you.

And by the way, it’s not as easy as one might might think to get drugs that will not cause you pain, but will kill you. Doctors know who might do themselves in, and they are loathe to prescribe anything a person might use to this end, for fear of being tried for murder.

But if she really needs help, a few ambien and comfortable car seat in the garage with the door closed and the car running would do the trick. Too bad the law says she has to go alone and no one can hold her hand, because Martin doesn’t want people to have that power, that’s sad.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin_Sarcastic
URL: http://
Wow, I’m amazed at how easily a few of you dismiss the risk of abuse. You don’t even bother to explain how abuse might be mitigated or why it’s a risk worth tolerating. The strawman here is to claim it’s simply all about some people wanting to deny other people their freedom.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Risk of abuse? How many people would end another person’s life for their own benefit or convenience? In the U.S. it happens one million times a year, every year for the last thirty years. I’m sure the added incentive of inheritace or insurance wouldn’t add to that at all.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
I sympathize with Mrs. Phares but government solutions are not the answer.

As an alternative to the ’majic bullet’, I would suggest she watch replays of Hillary speeches.
 
Written By: jhstuart
URL: http://
why shouldn’t she have the option of choosing a graceful way (even an assisted way) to end what she has come to consider something she’d rather not prolong?


There are hundreds of ways to bow out gracefully. Cowards want somebody else to do what they themselves can’t. It’s easy to say "I want to die", but hard to stick that needle in your own arm.
 
Written By: Jay
URL: http://
It doesn’t sound to me like anyone is preventing Ms. Phares from cashing in her chips.

As Jay noted, she’s got lots of options available, but she wants someone else to do the dirty work for her. Your right to commit suicide doesn’t obligate anyone else to help you.

All she’s got to do is sign a DNR, pin it to her blouse, climb into her car inside her garage, start the engine, and wait. If she doesn’t have a car, I’m sure her son, who seems to support her desire to kill herself, can lend her one for a day.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
What disgusts me is people that don’t allow her a dignified way out
Who’s stopping her?
 
Written By: David C.
URL: http://
Grimshaw, I wish I could be as amazed by your ’slippery slope’ concern. Unfortunately I’ve heard it all too often in justifying expanding state control and/or ignoring the topic at hand. So again, to re-reiterate the point of the article, it is about the right for Gloria to end her own existence and the right for someone to assist her with that goal, should they choose to. That’s it.

Now, discussion on how to best determine her mental state or the proper way to insulate the assistor from liability would be appropriate here. But it’s disingenuous to dismiss Gloria’s right to self-terminate due to abuse or risk. Freedom inherently brings risk. The real fallacy is trumping Gloria’s right to choose because you fear that risk as state control won’t mitigate risk or abuse, it merely transfers it.
 
Written By: Robert S
URL: http://
So again, to re-reiterate the point of the article, it is about the right for Gloria to end her own existence and the right for someone to assist her with that goal, should they choose to. That’s it.
I don’t accept your premise. Just because you have a right to do something doesn’t necessarily mean you have a right to require someone else to help you.
The real fallacy is trumping Gloria’s right to choose because you fear that risk as state control won’t mitigate risk or abuse, it merely transfers it.
No one is stopping Mrs. Phares from choosing suicide. There are plenty of ways to die that don’t involve prescription drugs. It’s really not about choice, though, it’s about burdening someone else with your choice.

 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
I don’t accept your premise. Just because you have a right to do something doesn’t necessarily mean you have a right to require someone else to help you.
I’m not sure where the "requirement" to do so comes from. I don’t think she’s asking someone be "required" to do so, I think she’s asking that if someone is willing, she is as well. A fairly simple and straight forward contract. And, as Kervorkian proved, there are those willing to help.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
The only way the state won’t ’let’ her do this is if she fails in the first attempt, except they’re going to make it difficult by restricting access to things that make it easier and cleaner.

Sounds like what she’s looking for, really, is the American equivilent of a Kaishakunin
to make sure there is no failure.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Just because you have a right to do something doesn’t necessarily mean you have a right to require someone else to help you.
I absolutely agree with that statement but I don’t believe anyone’s stipulated a ’requirement’. In fact I said just the opposite with the ’should they choose’ addendum. Sorry if that was unclear.
It’s really not about choice, though, it’s about burdening someone else with your choice.
No, it is about choice. Gloria’s right to choose the time of her demise and a service provider’s (presumably an MD) right to supply her with a quick and painless method of achieving that goal. I’m not sure where you see ’burden’ in that but it wasn’t my intent, nor I’m sure was it in Gloria’s to impose any requirements or burdens on anybody.
 
Written By: Robert S
URL: http://
This is hardly an issue about state control over the individual. It’s about whether or not the medical establishment should be in the business of killing, when it’s ethically bound to do no harm. You can argue that Mrs. Phares has a right to kill herself, but it doesn’t follow that the medical establishment is obliged to help her carry out her wishes—or that anyone else is, for that matter.
 
Written By: Bill Ramey
URL: http://saturninretrograde.blogspot.com
McQ beat me to it. Steverino, granting (more accurately acknowledging the existence of) the right of people to end their own life does not place a burden of requirement on anyone. I am 39, and I hope that by the time I am in my late 90s, a widower, and crippled, there will be a system in place that acknowledges my right to end my life AND affords legal protection to the friends that assist me in carrying out my final act of individual choice.
 
Written By: Tim
URL: http://
Ted - I think you’re failing to make the distinction between legally and illegally ending someone else’s life. Those million murders a year are illegal and as such we try to punish the perpetrators. Determining whether or not a genuine murder occurred when assisted suicide is legal - I suspect - will be much harder. That’s the risk.

Robert S - let me be clear that I’m generally not interested in more state control of anything. And I understand the rights that are being discussed. It is, however, short sighted to fail to consider the negative consequences of legal assisted suicide. Every action has costs. I don’t think it is a mere transfer of risk if assisted suicide is not legalized. It seems that a new risk is introduced - the risk that someone can get away with murder under the cover of a legalized action.

Let me be clear as well that I’m not arguing against legalized assisted suicide. I’m merely surprised by what appears to be dogmatic thinking. Maybe you’ve all thought this through but it doesn’t appear to be the case. Not that you’ve got to convince me of anything...
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
The "right to die" is the right not to have your life extended by any extraordinary medical means when you don’t want it so extended. It’s a right to let nature take its course. (The Schiavo case, by the way, was not such a case, since the giving of basic nutrition is not extraordinary. That case was a dispute over her condition and her wishes, where her parents were willing to take responsibility for her and believed that she was there and wanted to live. It was the government that ordered her killed, and she was not terminal.)

There is no "right to suicide." But in practice a person determined to kill himself will do so, unless he is in heavy lockdown in an institution under a suicide watch. That’s done for people who are faced with an extraordinary stress that might lead them to do something that they wouldn’t do once they regain perspective.

The idea that a "Kevorkian" merely provides a service cannot be distinguished from instances of coercion, which will be masked. But say that it was merely a service? Are you arguing, McQ, that someone has a "right" to that service?

Does Mrs. Phares have a "right" to ask someone to kill her?

The answer is that there can be no such right. There is no "just claim" on such a service.

In practice, extreme pain is matched with opiates, usually morphine, and terminal patients are often eased out at the inevitable nexus between relieving pain and maintaining respiratory and cardiac activity. I don’t think that even the Catholic Church has a problem with that.

But someone who just wants to die, whether from boredom or a loss of desire to live, needs to solve that problem for himself. It is, in fact, immoral to ask someone else to play God, and as someone pointed out in this comment thread, this opens the hangar door for a culture of euthanasia that becomes a benefit for the living more than a service for those who want to die.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
So why doesn’t she get a gun and blow her brains out? Or wash down a bottle of sleeping pills with Maker’s Mark?

Suicide is legal. Who’s going to stop you? If I were to legislate anything regarding assisted suicide, it would be called the "Don’t Be a P*ssy Law". If you want out, Jeff will drive you to the gun store, where you will purchase a Kimber 1911 .45 ACP in the trim of Jeff’s choice. The Kimber will be bequeathed to Jeff after the client offs him or herself, but they have to pull the trigger themselves.

Two important distinctions - 1. no sissy-*ss Kevorkian machine. 2. Jeff keeps the Kimber.


No one is stopping these people from killing themselves. Just like every other aspect of their lives, they want it to be painless and they want someone else to do the heavy lifting.

Life is pain. I’ll take the agony as long as I could see my wife or kids one more day.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Because some people don’t want others to have to clean up after they’ve spattered themselves on the wall.

Allegedly why women don’t normally chose the .45 ACP method to end their days (and, ’men’ do).
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
A thorny dilemma—I see merit to both sides.

I would respond to those who recommend that Ms Phares et al. do it themselves that quite a number of would-be suicides survive their attempts—even with guns and leaps from high buildings—and find themselves in even worse shape and more pain than they were before.

Also it’s not that easy for your average law-abiding citizen to acquire lethal amounts of sleeping pills.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Mr. McPhillips:

Unfortunately it is no longer possible for a doctor to simply prescribe opiates in the manner you noted above: "...extreme pain is matched with opiates, usually morphine, and terminal patients are often eased out at the inevitable nexus between relieving pain and maintaining respiratory and cardiac activity."

The War on (some) Drugs has had a pernicious effect on the capability and willingness of doctors to prescribe sufficient quantities of effective pain medications today. Doctors are now in danger of criminal prosecution should they do so.

My grandmother was fortunate enough to be terminally ill before our fed.gov made such horrible decisions about opiates. Diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, she (knowingly, and with full acceptance) declined any operations or chemotherapy. She was eventually prescribed with ever-increasing dosages of morphine to quell the ever-increasing pain. When she finally died, it was in our family home, surrounded by her loved ones, in the manner you noted, with a sufficient quantity of morphine to simply supress her breathing.

She would never be allowed to do so in todays "no opiates" prescription environment...just another example of the beneficence of government.

Today we allow our pets to die with more dignity than our elderly.
 
Written By: Blackwing1
URL: http://
Grimshaw;
The one million killed a year I mentioned are completely legal. The number of murders has never been near that high.
It’s evidence of what happens when people are given an easy option of ending someone else’s life if it reduces the burden on the survivor. Less than ten percent of abortions are done because of health concerns or rape/incest; the rest are convenience. I don’t bring it up to debate abortion laws; just to show how serious the risk of abuse is with assisted suicide.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
When I was younger I thought all problems had good solutions. As I’ve matured, I no longer think so.

Some problems like suicide, drugs, and abortion really don’t have good solutions, just policies that steer between the rocks but leave some folks in one lurch or another.

Maybe someday technology solves these problems and we migrate to cyborg bodies that we can fix as easily as washing machines. But in the meantime...
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Grimshaw, I think Ted is talking about abortion. A turn that seems inevitable in these discussions for some reason.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
I’m not sure where the "requirement" to do so comes from. I don’t think she’s asking someone be "required" to do so, I think she’s asking that if someone is willing, she is as well. A fairly simple and straight forward contract. And, as Kervorkian proved, there are those willing to help
What she’s asking is that a doctor prescribe her medication so she can take it and die.

If this really were about her wanting to die, she’d be worm chow by now, by her own hand. She wants an accomplice.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Also it’s not that easy for your average law-abiding citizen to acquire lethal amounts of sleeping pills.
You are kidding, right? In less than a day, I could quite legally get my hands on enough doxylamine and alcohol to kill a rhinoceros.

Besides, the car-in-the-garage trick works just fine, and you don’t even have to leave home.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
A turn that seems inevitable in these discussions for some reason.
Retief, that reason would be relevancy; succinctly explained prior to your post.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Steve — No, I don’t know how to legally get doxylamine, and I doubt most Americans would know either how to legally get enough doxy-whatever, sleeping pills or painkillers to kill themselves if they didn’t have an existing prescription.

People have survived all methods of suicide and it’s usually not pretty at all.

If one wishes to kill oneself reliably, painlessly, and unmessily it’s not that straightforward.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Seems the dissenters have three issues. Let me know if I’ve missed any but from what I gather:

Suicide is a rather permanent solution to what is often a temporary feeling.
Well yeah that’s true, but life is full of potentially permanent results based on temporary feelings. I’m pretty sure that argument doesn’t extend to our friend Gloria but she does seem to be a hostage to a system which seeks to save people from the folly of their own decisions. Such paternalism is incongruent with a free society.

The people that want to do it should do it without help.
Why is that, exactly? To dismiss them as ‘pussies’ or looking for ‘accomplices’ shows an enormous amount of ignorance or arrogance – I’m not sure which. No one here as any concept of how Gloria feels or her level of intestinal fortitude, nor is that a sufficient reason to deny her the right to seek that assistance for herself – or someone else in providing it.

Allowing legally available suicide will lead to abuse.
Yep, that’s probably true too. Freedom to choose means your fellow man also has that freedom and he just may choose to push it past the bounds of what you or I consider honest. Assuming you’re a regular reader of this blog I’ll leave it to your imagination where that logic would ultimately take us.

Ya know, I really do like this site. This dialogue, on most other sites, would quickly denigrate into an argument based on God’s morals (‘life is supremely precious’) or rhetoric grenades. Excepting a small minority, what we have instead is a vibrant conversation. Kudos to everyone involved!

 
Written By: Robert S
URL: http://
Atrial fibrillation; deaf, can’t enjoy music or hear a voice unless 10 inches from my ear; fell, fractured my thigh and am now a cripple; had a slight stroke the day after my beloved husband died after 61 years of marriage.
Her heart is shot, she can’t move unassisted (so she’s a pussy if she needs help to take a dump?), she had a stroke, and she lost her mate of 61 years. She’s 91! You’d think in 91 years she has earned the right to say enough. But some of you want her to pop up, walk to the garage and either drive to a gun store or sit there and let the monoxide kill her. Just damn... that’s sad.
Life is pain. I’ll take the agony as long as I could see my wife or kids one more day.
And what about the day neither is there anymore? You still taking the agony? Can you even image what it must feel like to wake up one day and know that every friend you ever had is dead? That you outlived your children? Hell in your 90’s, you could have outlived grandchildren. Get off the high horse man. If she wants to go, I’d help her.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Because some people don’t want others to have to clean up after they’ve spattered themselves on the wall.
I call BS.

There are companies that specialize in cleaning up such messes. Give ’em a call beforehand and make sure you pay by money order.

Of course, now your potential suicides will demand that my administration subsidize the cost of hiring a cleaning company. To which I would say "Then I guess you can’t afford to kill yourself, now can you? Neener-neener."

Again, this is not an issue of state control - it’s an issue of weak people (not because they want to die, but because they can’t bring themselves to do it)wanting someone else to bear the burden of ending their lives for them.

 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
I’m quite certain that if she’s spry enough to write letters to the editor she’s got the dexterity and finger strength to pop the requisite numbers of pills or squeeze a trigger. Spare me the sob story. No one is denying that she has the right to kill herself, because as I said, who’s going to stop her? Arguing that she’s "trapped" by some type of system is absurd.
And what about the day neither is there anymore? You still taking the agony? Can you even image what it must feel like to wake up one day and know that every friend you ever had is dead? That you outlived your children? Hell in your 90’s, you could have outlived grandchildren. Get off the high horse man. If she wants to go, I’d help her.


As my good friend and crystal meth producer, Scott Erb, would say - now you’re just being emotional. Yes, I can imagine her pain. I do not suffer the delusion that life either is or should be bereft of pain or loss. Neither do I demand that someone else intervene to end my suffering. If I want off the pony, there are many ways to do it.

You’d help her? Send her a copy of Final Exit, then, if you’re such a great guy. There’s a whole chapter on how the extremely handicapped can off themselves if they’re determined to do so.

They may not be easy or pain free - but who says you have a right to a pain-free or "dignified" death? You want to kill yourself? You can get dead, no problem. Quit begging others to help you.

That’s my problem, meagain - I’m huge on the personal responsibility thing. Suicide isn’t for me, but I don’t care if others choose it. "Assisted suicide" is just another way to shrug off some of the responsibility for what should be the ultimate expression of individual freedom - deciding whether or not you want to live.

You want to show her compassion? - write her and tell her to starve herself to death. It works, and she doesn’t need to make anyone else complicit in her demise. But it would be hard, it might not be pleasant, and of course, that’s the real issue. That’s what makes people pussies - refusing to accept any discomfort or make a mess to acheive what they say they want.

The title of this post is "Why is it the state’s business how and when Gloria decides to go?" It’s not - everyone has stipulated that. Gloria, and others are aguing that it is the state’s business to help Gloria kill herself, first by legislation allowing "assisted suicide".

How long do you think it will be before people will demand TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED ASSISSTED SUICIDE in a "painless and dignified manner"?

THEY CAN HAVE THE GOVERNMENT TEAT WHEN THEY PRY IT FROM MY COLD, DEAD LIPS.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Ted, my mistake, I completely misread and misunderstood what you wrote. I understand your point and I agree.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Ted, a concocted relevancy seen only by those forced-pregnancy advocates to whom everything is always about abortion.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Yeah, Retief, that’s it, there is no possible parallel between the legal permission to end the life of an unborn person and the legal permission to end the life of a born person.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Guns, pills, "death machines"... Why make it hard?

A breathing mask and a small tank of nitrogen. Hold her hand while she goes to sleep, remove the mask after 15 minutes, put it and the tank in the trunk of your car before calling the medics.

No pain, no panicky breathing because the excess CO2 is triggering distress signals, just a quick fade to unconsciousness, with death to follow.

If I get to that point, that’s going to be my method, even though I have enough firearms to make the evening news (with the traditional "blanket on the lawn" scene) when I get arrested for spitting on the sidewalk. Why give the Brady Bunch another suicide stat to mix with homicides?
 
Written By: bud
URL: http://
Heh, just when I go and remark on how civilized the discussion here is....

Jeff, you might want to rehone your reading comprehension skills a bit. No one other then the would-be strawman builders mentioned a thing about subsidization. No one (other then the same) said forcible assistance was needed.

As far as the personal responsibilty issue - why don’t you take responsibility for building your own house? That argument is just as trite as the one you’ve proffered.

One more re-re-reiteration here... The issue is that Gloria would like to be snuffed and would prefer if there was a number she could call and order that service. You can belittle her till doomsday but I’ve yet to hear why she can’t.

Oh, and the cap lock button is on the right, Mr. cold dead something-or-other.
 
Written By: Robert S
URL: http://
Jeff, you might want to rehone your reading comprehension skills a bit. No one other then the would-be strawman builders mentioned a thing about subsidization. No one (other then the same) said forcible assistance was needed
It’s not a strawman, Henke-lite. It’s an ancillary issue. If you don’t know what "ancillary" means, ask an adult to look it up for you. While questioning the intelligence of posters for their lack of reading comprehension, you might want to remove the beam of narrow focus from your own eye.
As far as the personal responsibilty issue - why don’t you take responsibility for building your own house? That argument is just as trite as the one you’ve proffered.
I’m glad you made this asinine non sequitur. It just so happens that I just finished building my own 5000 sq. ft. restaurant. We open on Tuesday. Got any other suggestions, smart-*ss?
One more re-re-reiteration here... The issue is that Gloria would like to be snuffed and would prefer if there was a number she could call and order that service. You can belittle her till doomsday but I’ve yet to hear why she can’t.
Because the power and the responsibility to take your life should only rest with you, the individual. Being a "helper" makes you an accessory to euthanasia, which is illegal. Posters around here sure get their dander up over granting the state the power of death in executions, due to the possibility of killing someone innocent. And that’s after years of appeals. Can you not see the enormous - not potential, but certainty of abuse when you put that power in the hands of physicians?
Oh, and the cap lock button is on the right, Mr. cold dead something-or-other.
Wrong again, rocket-surgeon. It is on the LEFT, BETWEEN THE TAB AND SHIFT KEYS.

Next time you want to try some snark, do your homework, lightweight.




 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Wow, you’re certainly an angry lad, huh? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get your panties in a bunch. Yeah, perhaps I don’t know where the cap lock is - I really don’t use it much so I guess that makes me stoopid. However, I can’t help but notice you did, after all, get the point:
Being a "helper" makes you an accessory to euthanasia, which is illegal.
And that’s what I object to. I feel that people should be free to engage in contract with each other and if someone, such as Gloria, wishes to contract someone to ease her out of this life then its none of my, yours, or anyone’s business to interfere with that contract.

No, I can’t see the potential, certainty or whatever of abuse in that. Again, I may be stoopid but even if either were so, it doesn’t impact the right to free exchange between Gloria and some Kevorkian type.

I’ll work on my snark, thanks for the critique. If I may offer a suggestion in return, you might choose to contract someone to help you with your hostility. I promise not to raise objections to that contract based upon the potential, nay certainty for brainwashing.
 
Written By: Robert S
URL: http://
Way to take the high road, Robert. Kudos, I believe you said. Just because you got your knuckles smacked doesn’t mean you have to stoop to my level, now does it?
And that’s what I object to. I feel that people should be free to engage in contract with each other and if someone, such as Gloria, wishes to contract someone to ease her out of this life then its none of my, yours, or anyone’s business to interfere with that contract.
Then perhaps you should retire to the An-Cap echo chamber. Tell Billy Beck and Richard Nikoley that Jeff sent you.

Since we’re in the business of contracting with others, why not contract with 14-year old girls (or boys) for sexual services? How about 12-year olds? Or contracting to provide marijuana to those same 12 year-olds? It’s illegal, euthanasia is illegal, but it doesn’t harm anyone, according to your free market principles.

After all, trivialities such as "euthanasia" and "age of consent" are just moral constructs based on arbitrary line-drawing, aren’t they? You say they’re too young for sex and drugs, but that’s just an arbitrary line you drew at the age of twelve, or sixteen, or eighteen. I say euthanasia should be illegal. Most of Western civilization agrees with me and have codified it into law. That’s the price you pay for living in a society, which you will find present no matter where you live.

And it’s not that you don’t have the right to be insulting - you do. I’m not trying to deny you that right by responding with more clever, insightful and artfully constructed jibes. I mean, c’mon... "angry lad"? "panties in a bunch"? "stoopid"? Did you play piccolo in the band with mkultra?

Again, thank you for the easy lob about building my own house. There’s no way you could have known, and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, which should serve as incontrovertible proof that God acknowledges the rightness of my side of the argument, and that you and those who agree with you are truly the sons of pigs and apes.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Obviously she can find a way to kill herself. The question is why shouldn’t she have the option of choosing a graceful way (even an assisted way) to end what she has come to consider something she’d rather not prolong?
That’s the question McQ left us. Notwithstanding all the claims of how straightforward it is kill oneself, I’m not persuaded that it is all that easy to do so without making things worse all the way around (e.g. a GSW to the head leaving one alive but vegetative) or that such assistance should be ruled out.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Verily Jeff, thou truly art the Chosen One; thy reasoning is mighty indeed! I’m a bit perplexed how you found your coup de gras in my ’asinine non sequitur’, but as the gods favor your side, I’ll not flirt with heresy by questioning that further.

I am sorry that you are so frightened by free market principles. That fear is as old as money itself but it is a reasonable one to those who base their morals on arbitrary deities. I hadn’t realized you were one of them. I now understand your vitriol.

Btw, that most of Western civilization agrees with you and has codified it into law does not necessarily make something right. We’ve done the same with the right to abortion but somehow I doubt you’d accept that as right.

Nevertheless, I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree here. I’m resigned to being an ape-pig and you… well, you have god on your side. You probably don’t want to argue with this ape anymore. Otherwise, to paraphrase that old adage; no one will be able to tell the difference.
 
Written By: Robert S
URL: http://
I’m a bit perplexed how you found your coup de gras in my ’asinine non sequitur’, but as the gods favor your side, I’ll not flirt with heresy by questioning that further.
Because you challenged me to take responsibility for building my own house - MYSELF. Then I explained to you that I just built a restaurant, MYSELF - a larger and much more complex construction than a residential dwelling. How did you not get that?
I am sorry that you are so frightened by free market principles.
SNORE.
That fear is as old as money itself but it is a reasonable one to those who base their morals on arbitrary deities.
SNORE.
Btw, that most of Western civilization agrees with you and has codified it into law does not necessarily make something right. We’ve done the same with the right to abortion but somehow I doubt you’d accept that as right.
Putting aside your apples to oranges comparison for a moment: No, I do not believe convenience abortions are necessary or defensible. Jesus didn’t tell me so. However, it is currently the law of the land. I don’t like it, but I’m okay with it. Now I bet you’re really confused.
Nevertheless, I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree here. I’m resigned to being an ape-pig and you… well, you have god on your side. You probably don’t want to argue with this ape anymore.
Have someone explain the "sons of apes and pigs" comment to you and stop being such a humorless wet blanket. Have a good night, Robert.



 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://repatriate.blogspot.com
The fact that some situations are clearly unfair and a feeling person will sympathize with Gloria and wish that she could do what she’d like to do does not overrule other considerations.

How many failed suicides get over it? The "permanent solution to a temporary problem" applies. Maybe not to Gloria but changing the rules for her does change them for everyone. I seem to recall that most suicides are teenagers. There are also any number of people who suffer from depression at some time in their life. A walk in pharmacy and crematorium might be prettier and less offensive to the public than jumping off the Bay Bridge, but when you’re jumping off the Bay Bridge there’s a chance someone will stop you rather than give you a push, and tomorrow, you might not *want* to jump off the Bay Bridge.

I linked to a story last week about an argument about abortion in England where it is legal to get an abortion up to the day before a full term birth if the child has even a minor and correctable genetic condition. Is it really a "slippery slope" argument to see eugenics around the corner? Where the heck is the slope? Combine this stuff with state medicine and the government is highly incentivized to encourage euthanasia of those with expensive or chronic medical conditions.

And it’s not a "slippery slope" that some do-gooder will make medical choices for those who don’t decide to do the "right thing." This has happened again and again. During the time that Eugenics was in it’s heyday in the US untold numbers of teenage girls were sterilized without their consent or knowledge on Indian reservations because the doctors took it on themselves to make sure more babies weren’t born into alcoholic cultures. Why does anyone doubt that medical decisions will be made for people by doctors and nurses interested in "doing the right thing?" There is no *slope* to slip down. This isn’t some possible result of changing mores. This is the way we *are*.

I’m sorry for Gloria. I really am. But the danger really is too great and if I have to chose between an old lady in pain and an acceptance of suicide and euthanasia... I pick the old lady in pain.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Better yet, we can just claim it’s a crematorium and turn the people into Soylent Green.

Not waste that way.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Why does anyone doubt that medical decisions will be made for people by doctors and nurses interested in "doing the right thing?" There is no *slope* to slip down. This isn’t some possible result of changing mores. This is the way we *are*.
Very succint, Synova. And you just pointed out the flaw in "pure libertarian" thinking, which is the same flaw in far left thinking - this magical belief in the perfectability of man.

Just because they are content to be left alone, they have this idea that everyone else will somehow be content to leave them alone. Not gonna happen. Never has happened before, and never will happen in the future.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://repatriate.blogspot.com
I’m sorry for Gloria. I really am. But the danger really is too great and if I have to chose between an old lady in pain and an acceptance of suicide and euthanasia... I pick the old lady in pain.
Of course in reality it’s really not about your choice, is it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net
But it is.

Because I’m being asked to either facilitate suicide or... not.

If it were really not my choice at all, our society would be very different than it is. Now *should* it be my choice is a different sort of question. And that question goes to the one; *should* it be my choice what other people do when it may hurt someone.

I’m very concerned about the potential for abuse, for *suggested* suicide, for the right, not just to decide for yourself, but to have someone decide for you.

Making it too easy to suicide and putting a social acceptance on suicide seems like a way to hurt other people instead of help them through temporary pain.

Making it too easy to suicide or help people with medical issues to suicide seems like a way to encourage a situation where those least able to defend themselves are at the mercy of those who *will* kill them. I have no doubt.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
If McQ can’t see the many dangers inherent in going down the road of assisted suicide, he really hasn’t thought the issue through.
 
Written By: clark smith
URL: http://
But many things pose dangers in our society yet we still accept them.

Allowing people to drive automobiles and acquire firearms is very dangerous and about 80,000 people die a year as a result, and many more are injured. However, as a society we have decided that the advantages of allowing people automobiles and firearms outweigh these consequences.

Physician-assisted suicide has been allowed in Oregon since 1997. While it continues to be opposed in principle for much the same arguments that have beens stated here, the citizens of Oregon have yet to overturn the statute.

As far as I know, and I don’t know much, the concerns people have about physician-assisted suicide have not been realized in Oregon. Perhaps someone who knows more can say more.

 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Because I’m being asked to either facilitate suicide or... not.
No. You’re not. You’re being asked what business of yours it is if she decides she’d like someone else to help her facilitate her suicide.
I’m very concerned about the potential for abuse, for *suggested* suicide, for the right, not just to decide for yourself, but to have someone decide for you.
And I’m very concerned about the potential abuses of many things. But if they don’t effect me or my freedoms, don’t see how it is any of my business.

Other than "we’ve decided that’s the way it is", I’ve seen nothing particularly compelling in argument against her having the right to choose to die and to contract with someone to help her.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net
I think that if we weren’t looking at the possibility of nationalized medicine I could be persuaded.

And if we took care of our old people ourselves instead of relying on the State, someone offing grandma would have to consider the example they were giving for their own children when they, in turn, have to rely on the next generation for their daily care.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Synova — Thanks for your civil tone in this difficult discussion.

No one is "offing grandma." A doctor is helping grandma with offing herself. She is in a lot of pain and her life is almost certainly not going to get better. She is ready to leave. Since that’s not as straightforward as canceling her magazine subscriptions, she would like help from society’s experts on the human body — doctors.

Yes, it’s possible this process can be abused. Almost everything can be abused. Yet we don’t stop selling cars, handguns, and cutlery because they can be abused. From what I can tell, this process has been available in Oregon for 10 years and it hasn’t been abused.

We are all going to die. For some of us that will be a slow, painful experience as diseases like cancer finish us off. Some seeing the inevitability and the pain of that will prefer to cut to the chase and get it over with in a quick, painless, contained, and reliable procedure that really is not available without a doctor’s help.

Some, like Roman Catholics, will see allowing that as inherently immoral. Ohters, like McQ, will see allowing that as none of their business.

Where do you stand?

 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Huxley;
The very first case of assisted suicide in Oregon turned out to be abuse. The patient was depressed, not in severe pain or near-death. Possibly due to this, Oregon has not allowed anyone to do a study of how often it is abused.

Studies have shown that the quality of care given to people eligible for assisted suicide has dropped considerably since the law passed, so people that don’t choose suicide are being affected by it. That makes it everyone’s business, even if there wasn’t the guarantee of abuse.

On a side note, the number of suicides in Oregon prior to the assisted suicide law was about 160/year. In 2005 the number was 555, and that was a drop from 2006. Last fall state health officials to declared "We have a serious problem with suicide in Oregon."

 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Ted — Good material! Thanks. If you’ve got some links, please post. One of the best I found:
Oregon statistics. The Oregon Experience lists problems with the law.

From what I read, the first Oregon patient also had been battling breast cancer for 22 years. 160/yr sounds low for Oregon and 555 not unreasonable. Some back of the envelope calculations:

avg. yearly suicide rate in US: 12 per 100,000
population of Oregon: 3,700,000
expected rate of suicide in Oregon: 444

One can argue that socially sanctioned suicide will increase the rate of suicide. I imagine it will, just as easier divorce laws have increased the rate of divorce. It strikes me as a classic problem which asks whether individuals have the right to make choices that others or society may consider bad. Likewise, to the extent that abuses occur, do we tighten up the oversight or overturn the Oregon law?
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
"No one is "offing grandma.""

Do you know this?

And there is no reason at all that malice has to come into it... you know, that old "doing evil with the approval of their own conscience" thing. The argument here, http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2008/feb/08020104.html , about aborting children with disabilities, is all about how this is best for the children. That they really are better off dead. The examples are all horrific ones but the law itself allows for minor conditions that are correctable.

If the argument here is that grandma really is better off dead does that have to meet a certain standard of misery first or does "old and tired" apply? Does that include people saying, "You know, Judith, I’d be supportive if you ever decided to just end it. Because it sure must suck to be you."
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Read the Oregon links and see what you think. People are prescribed lethal doses of barbiturates for self-administration. In some cases that’s loosely interpreted, e.g. in one case the son spooned spiked pudding into his mother’s mouth.

Is your problem allowing assisted suicide at all, with assisted suicide as a slippery slope, or with insufficient enforcement of safeguards?

I tend to see this as an individual rights issue even though I don’t like the idea of loosening the line on suicide. There is no getting around it — legalizing assisted suicide means that there will be more suicide, as well as opening the door to some abuses, which of course should be kept to a minimum.

 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Huxley;
Sorry for the delay, I don’t have consistent internet access.
A good description of the first case I found was in this testimony to the House (near the bottom of the page).
A more comprehensive analysis is here.

Maybe even more important than the documentation of abuse, they also describe the decline in treatment made available to patients. The fact that assisted suicide laws have changed the quality of health care treatment, both in the Netherlands and in Oregon, means that everyone’s choices have been affected. There are individual rights being restricted in that case as well. Minority rights need to be upheld against rules designed for the majority. It is equally true that majority rights should be upheld against rules designed for the minority.

A good article, but a number of the references are to journal articles that are not linked.

I was wrong about the earlier rates being that low, but Oregon’s State epidemiologist does think there’s a problem. Until Oregon allows more investigation, and a system to hold abusers accountable, there is no chance for abuse to be minimized. There’s
Even if the suicide rate and the number of abuses are seen as tangential to the issue, known consequences should be a factor anytime the government makes a decision.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://

 
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