Friday, March 18, 2005

Til Death do us Part

the folks that want to control the beginning of life also lay claim to the end. no birth control. no abortion. no sex ed. now we don't have the sense to know our own minds about death either. the supremes are cogitating on oregon's assisted suicide law. one of the supremes is brother scalia, who recently said during oral arguments about the display of the ten commandments ".... a symbol of the fact that government derives its authority from God.” apparently forgetting that the declaration of independence states that ".......Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

so i'm made in god's image and i have free will but my exercise of that will is subject to the official gatekeepers of god's will. it's bad enough to have them telling me what god wants. now they have roped in disability advocates who think i want to kill the disabled, and advocates for the aged who are convinced i want to kill old people, or at least trick them into dying. in both instances these advocates are claiming to know more than the disabled or the aged, as well as impugning the motives of those in favor of legal medically assisted suicide.

i do understand that people who are disabled in some way and people who are old don't want to be encouraged to die and i certainly don't encourage anyone to do so. after all, i'm getting older and aging lessens everyone's abilities in some way. i want society to grant everyone the expectation of respect, and i want that respect to extend to the careful, conscious decision that one's life is done. i don't want you to kill yourself, that's up to you. i want us all to have the right to that option, after going through all of the rigamarole that an enabling law such as oregon's requires.

in june of 1997 the supremes ruled that that there is no constitutional right to physician assisted suicide, upholding laws in new york and the state of washington banning that practice. the court implied that there was no constitutional bar to a state permitting such a practice.

Justice Rehnquist wrote:

"Throughout the nation, Americans are engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality and practicality of physician-assisted suicide. Our holding permits this debate to continue, as it should in an democratic society"


so the concept of state's rights is fine for banning physician assisted suicide and banning gay marriage but not for enabling either of those, or the medical use of marijuana. is there a religious view that would grant me the right to the option of assisted suicide? at the end of the day, as philosophers say, medical intervention or law may delay death, but we all have a right to die, as it comes with life. no one gets out alive.

save your meds. do the research. be prepared.

Update: from the New York times, Monday, March 21

In a 2004 Gallup survey, 65 percent agreed that a doctor should be allowed to assist a suicide "when a person has a disease that cannot be cured and is living in pain," up from 52 percent in 1996.