Coleman’s Letter copied below appears in Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune
The editorial recommends the Oregon assisted-suicide law as a controlled alternative to the rogue actions of Final Exit Network. Actually, the Oregon law controls assisted suicide like speed limits control highway drivers.
Oregon’s law applies to people a doctor predicts will die within six months. Never mind that such predictions are uncertain. And contrary to the editorial, no disinterested witness is required at the actual death, so consent and self-administration are not assured.
The doctor may refer the patient for a psychological consult to determine if the person’s judgment is impaired, but only 7 percent of patients have been referred. No counseling is required. Although 36 percent of patients reportedly request assisted suicide because they feel like a burden on family; no information is required about home care that might alleviate such feelings. The top five reasons people request assisted suicide are psycho-social issues, not physical pain, but there is no requirement to provide psycho-social counseling or support.
Under closer examination, the supposed safeguards under the Oregon law are just window dressing. Assisted suicide in Oregon may look better, but underneath it is just the same ugly devaluation of old, ill and disabled people, and we should all reject it.
DIANE COLEMAN, ROCHESTER, N.Y.