Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Assisted Suicide

In addition to hearing on Eminent Domain, the Supreme Court To Decide On Assisted Suicide . The case to be heard is a challenge to the Oregon law allowing assisted suicide. Currently, Oregon's the only state that does allow it, and the Bush administration (I wonder why it's the Bush administration and the Hussein regime... well, that's for another post) is adamantly opposed to allowing the terminally ill to die, at least, to die with help from someone else.
At any rate, I don't know that I agree with helping someone die, even if you are a doctor. I don't know that I can really say that I'm for or against the right, other than to say that I don't think I'd want to do that as a personal opinion. I can completely see the argument for assisted suicide. It's cheaper in the long run, it ends someone's suffering, it brings closure to a family that otherwise would have to wait years and years watching as a loved one decays while hooked up to machines that keep them breathing.

I'll keep y'all posted on the Supreme Courts decision, of course, but in the meantime, I wonder what other positions and rationales might be out there?


Sam said...

Though I see the arguments in favor of assisted suicide, I'm having trouble with the need. Aren't there tall buildings in Oregon? Do they not sell Valium and rat poison?

I don't think the Supreme Court will change much on the subject; there haven't been any new justices since they last took the case.

English Professor said...

I prepared a pretty good (if I do say so myself) presentation on this topic for a lecture a few years back. I'll see what I can quickly get my hands on. Relevant issues in a nutshell: _The Economist_ praised the initial decision because allowing people to kill themselves would save money, and disabled Oregonians had an understandable fit because at the same time the state was CUTTING funds for aid to the disabled (personal attendants, transportation needs, etc.) it was PROVIDING funds for lethal doses and for counseling services to aid people who wanted to die.
I'll post more later on this.

Michelle said...

I must say, i am for assisted suicide but only if the person suffering is of sound mind and able to make that decsion.
Its not legal in Australia, however it goes on.

English Professor said...

Steve, I'm going to just post a few quotations for people to think about instead of the content of my lecture, which is too long and is also intellectual property which I probably don't want floating around on the web. Here goes:

"The New York State Task Force on Life and Law lamented that, 'in light of the pervasive failure of our health care system to treat pain and diagnose and treat depression, legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia would be profoundly dangerous for many individuals who are ill and vulnerable. The risks would be most severe for those who are elderly, poor, socially disadvantaged, or without access to good medical care . . . racism, ageism, bigotry against disabled people, and issues of class and economic status would materially affect killing decisions.'"

From Physicians for Compassionate Care: "bureaucratic barriers have already been placed in the way of providing state funding for state-of-the-art antidepressant medication and even pain medicines, while full funding of assisted suicide for this same vulnerable population is being promoted."