Thanks to Linda Ann Wheeler and Patricia Doherty for their Facebook posting about an excellent article opposing assisted suicide by Boston Globe columnist Tom Keane. Originally published in the Globe on Auguest 26, it can be read online at http://articles.boston.com/2012-08-26/opinion/33383823_1_suicide-jack-kevorkian-terminal-illness.
The title is appropriate. Though assisted suicide advocates claim that legalizing assisted suicide will keep people safe from people like Jack Kevorkian, who killed people who did not have terminal illness, assisted suicide laws simply cannot be made safe.
Terminal illness is a relative term, the article asserts. Doctors simply don’t know when a person is going to die.
The article points out that the law on which Massachusetts citizens will vote in November does not require witnesses at the time the overdose is taken, making it almost certain that at least some people will be force fed the medicine or given it without their knowledge. True Dignity believes that such laws cannot be fixed, because even a requirement for disinterested witnesses will not prevent familial and social pressure on people made vulnerable by sickness.
The very existence of legal assisted suicide, especially in a culture obsessed with cost-cutting, is a form of pressure that completely destroys the possibility of free choice.