Legalize It: Death with Dignity

Sean McKeown and Sean McKeown

Over the past few weeks advocates of euthanasia have been out collecting signatures for a petition titled “Death with Dignity”. If the petition collects all 69,000 signatures, it will become a ballot initiative next November. The registered voters of Massachusetts will then have the opportunity to choose whether or not they want “Physician Assisted Suicide” to be legal.

Remember Dr. Jack Kevorkian? Known as “Dr. Death”, he’s the man that sparked the debate. Throughout the 90s, Kevorkian helped 130 people end their lives through his euthanasia devices. His first was with a woman named Janet Adkins who suffered from a severe case of Alzheimer’s disease. Though her memory was horrible, Kevorkian says she was rational and could understand the time and place she was in. Dr. Jack Kevorkian ended up going to prison for eight years, charged with second-degree murder, for the last person that he helped to die.

The Catholic Church has come out against the petition. They say that it is uncompassionate and that “society should work to prevent suicide, which is always a terrible tragedy, no matter what form it may take.” Many people believe that helping someone die early is a matter of playing god and that it is immoral.

But who came up with the idea that assisting in the death of people who suffer greatly from their illness is immoral. Did that idea come from the Catholic Church? The church is confusing the matter. If someone is depressed and wants to commit suicide then we should stop them and put them in a facility that will help them understand why their decision is off base. That doesn’t mean that a person who is in the last stage of brain cancer and is withering away from unbearable symptoms shouldn’t be able to die voluntarily.

Euthanasia IS a matter of compassion. Have you ever seen someone in a hospital and it is obvious that they will die soon? It’s horrible enough having to live the rest of your life in and out of a hospital never mind adding a deadly disease to the mix.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died this past June. So the biggest voice behind the issue is now gone. Does this mean that the issue won’t go any further? No, it’s just getting started. Now is the time for conversation.

What do you think of euthanasia?