I'll Never Write a Novel

The Memoir of a Personal Essayist OR Confessions of a Theatre Widow

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

On a Soap Box

This is an issue really near and dear to me and I want to make a plea that people vote properly on this initiative in Washington State.

http://noassistedsuicide.com/

Vote NO on I-1000

I know a lot of my friends who read this blog have differing political opinions than some of mine. I dare to guess we agree more than we disagree, but this is a crucial issue and it's important that we get people talking.

We cannot have Assisted Suicide in Washington State, and especially not the way this initiative is written. It has so many loopholes and is so messy that it creates a culture of death where people, concerned about being a "burden," will begin to feel obligated to relieve their loved ones of "suffering." This is about compassion. Let me say that again, this is about COMPASSION. And compassion literally means, "To suffer with." We are called to share in our lives, be it the best or worst of our lives. We are blessed to share in our joys of humanity and blessed to share in our sorrows. This is true compassion.

No one should make a solitary choice in their lowest moments. You do not need to do this alone. Let someone in who is willing to suffer with you. I promise no one is ever truly alone. I vow to sit with anyone in their sunset if that's what it takes.

While people may speak to dignity (or the lack of it) at the end of life, I say life has inherent dignity. We cannot be afraid of our truest humanity. Who are we to decide who has dignity and who does not? Earlier this year I had the experience of being with someone I love very much in their last moments. My mom embodied the greatest example of humanity. That last day I could not talk to her and she could not squeeze my hand three times to say, "I-Love-You," but she was no less human and no less filled with dignity than any other day of her life.

From the website...
What's wrong with I-1000?
I-1000 lacks real protection for people suffering from depression and mental illness.
I-1000 harms spouses and families.Under I-1000, a spouse or family member need not be told about the lethal overdose. [I-1000, Section 8]. Families might never know the truth of how their loved one died.
I-1000 endangers vulnerable people.I-1000's backers promote it as being about choice and individualized decision making. But as written, I-1000 does not empower patients. It provides an incentive for health plans to cut costs by steering people toward assisted suicide. I-1000 does not provide adequate safeguards to protect women, minorities, seniors and people with low incomes.

In Oregon, under a similar law, some patients are refused treatment by their insurance companies since they can save money by just providing the pills. Here is a story about a woman in Oregon battling lung cancer who was given death as her only option.

Doctors broadly disagree with this initiative because it is their sacred oath to care for people. "We believe physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the role of physicians as healers," said WSMA President Brian P. Wicks, MD. "Patients put their trust in physicians and that bond of trust would be irrevocably harmed by the provisions of this dangerous initiative." Read more here.

Beyond all these facts and loopholes and issues, it is wrong, in any circumstance to take another person's life. Even though people may talk about the term, "justifiable," it doesn't make the action right. If you have to rationalize or justify an action it is inherently wrong. You don't need to justify good behavior. We should at all times honor human life and do everything we can to protect it. True dignity is honoring people in whatever condition they are in. Dignity is unconditional. We need to show love at all times.

No person is exempt from suffering. It is part of life, inescapable. It's sad and it can break your heart. And grief is, in and of itself, lonely. But through compassion we can share the burden. Through compassion we can ease the loneliness and bring joy out of sorrow. Compassion allows us to ease pain and suffering. Compassion means you do not have to do this alone. It is a great gift to give and to receive. And this is about compassion.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noreen, Thank you for sharing this. I think it would be good to write letters and send to newspapers, especially those that are endorsing this initiative (The Olympian and others..I have a list.) We should also send our letters to the many Districts of Democrats who broadly support this bad law (I have a list). Let's not forget to share our protests with NARAL (who, not surprisingly, supports a culture of death...also on my list.)
Ultimately, this is as bad as slavery or the rule of the Third Reich where evil people persecuted members of society whom they believed to be "unworthy" or "not human." We cannot stand for this line of thinking any longer! Are we really supposed to believe that members of our own society have less value or are a burden? I-1000
supporters want you to believe that this is freedom of choice. If this passes - if YOU vote yes - you will not have a choice when you face illness or end of life. You will be told that your only choice is take suicide pills because you are not worthy to be cared for. Your health care provider will deem you as "lesser" or "a burden" and won't fund your palliative care - even if you still have 5 years to live. You are worthy of this life, no matter what good or bad comes with it. Do not be fooled that I-1000 will give you choice. This initiative and its supporters are preying on your fears and insecurities. Do not let them keep you from living your life with the freedoms we, as U.S. humans, have.
I am lucky to have been born and live in the U.S.A. (and so are you.) I am proud that we believe "that all men (and women) are created equal." I will not give up that freedom. YOU should not give up that freedom. I-1000 is asking us to give up that freedom. Vote NO on I-1000. Aileen Carrell (defender of human life), University Place, WA

11:16 AM  
Blogger tacomachickadee said...

N: Thank you for expressing your opinion on this subject in such a logical, thoughtful, respectful, caring and non-politically divisive manner. As someone whose political opinions tend to differ, but who also dares to guess that we agree more than we disagree ... I appreciate your ability to have an intelligent and passionate conversation that involves sharing and listening rather than lecturing.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

I have to say that you and I differ on our political views. However, the enjoyable part of speaking and listening to someone who is different is that of logic and understanding. This is why I love what you had to say, and how you said it. Politics get you thinking, and that's exactly what you did for me. Thank you. :)

And speaking of thanks, your words of wisdom and comfort touched my heart. Thank you so much for your support, it means so much to me. Blessings and peace to you.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Randy, Robin, Tyler and Tanner said...

Your mother and my mother would be soo proud of what you wrote. My mother wouldn't have made it to heaven without the suffering here on earth. She suffered so much and never would have taken her own life, I wonder what happens to the souls of people who think they have the right to do this.

6:33 AM  

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