We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Very disappointed to see some of my favorite Justices on the wrong side of this one.
This is not to make any medical point, even though it is medical practice across the USA to non-assist pain-ridden dying patients to "comfortably" slip away on morphine.
My point is political: this is a state issue. Like abortion - if a state wants it, it's up to them, despite all of the complex moral considerations. Power to the people! Not to the Feds, who have no monopoly on wisdom or life experience. May I refer our readers to Amendments lX and X ?
Having said that, though, I'd hate to see us become a country where the ill and infirm are expected to go away to save us money and trouble and inconvenience - which is what abortion is about, as I see it. That would be a Brave New World.
Assisted suicide is euthanasia is murder. Numerous studies of people suffering horribly from terminal illness who wanted to die found that they were actually depressed (duh). When they were treated with antidepressants they no longer wanted someone to help shorten their life. They were still in pain, still going through the struggle all of us humanoids do trying to hold onto life. Although we all know that, sometimes, meds for depression end up somewhat alleviating pain without (like the opiates) depressing breathing.
I used to proclaim that people who want to be helped to die just needed better pain management. That was before I knew that many pain meds hasten people to the next world.
To be more personal, I have a parent dying in agony as I write this. He rations his pain meds, which are necessary for him to be able to sleep, eat, talk, etc. Only takes 1/4 the prescribed dose and manages stoically, still in pain but awake enough to talk to his beloved family during what little time he has left. If he heard of someone wanting to die he would punch them, with what little strength he has left. It isn't wholly selfish, tho I know he still smacks his lips over my sister's mango fool. He knows that we want him around, and pilgrimages of us from all over the world are flying in to be with him.
Suicide is an aggressive, selfish and despairing act. The emotions beneath it are entirely to be sympathised with, but to act on them is not only to murder oneself ,and to despair of the mercy of God, but also to murder something in every one of the people who love one. For any physician, caretaker or relative who thinks they know best to do anything to facilitate the demise of someone else is to be a party to murder.
I am not talking about heroic measures, etc. But I think that, actually, a great deal of murder takes place today in the form of excessively high doses of morphine given to patients, particularly when the relatives show signs of being fed up with a protracted illness that is draining the family coffers and energy. I saw this when I worked in a hospital where I was told that my suspicions were paranoid so shut up about them.
I am certainly seeing this now where my relative is being prescribed so much painkiller that if he were to take it all, I would be visiting someone who is asleep 24 hours a day.
Enough. Things are different in different settings--for example, if I were a soldier, I would want my buddy to have the guts to finish me off if I were fatally wounded and slowing down companions who could otherwise get away to safety. But that is not suicide, that is giving one's life to increase the chances for one's peers. Enough of my muddled thinking.
It's just that when you have a beloved relative dying, every moment is precious.