There is active discussion relevant to proposing a “right to die” bill in the Connecticut State Legislature. Euthanasia, is illegal in all states in large part due to the fact a lethal medication would be administered by a person other than the person exercising their own right to die, however, physician assisted suicide is legal in Washington and Oregon.
Patient suicide requests for physician assistance are strictly constrained with limitations of law. The patient must be diagnosed with a terminal illness, be of sound mind (some would argue that the desire to commit suicide is an indication of a troubled mind not capable of a sound decision). The evaluation and judgment of a sound mind is left in the hands of a doctor and other witnesses.
End-of-life issues can be a complex issue of ethics, compassion and rationalization. Is early termination of life, assisted or administered, really an act of compassion motivated by a sense of humanity and mercy or are we crossing a line in a conspiracy leading to death of another human being?
One must ask if the fuel for the fire in moving forward to authorize State sanctioned suicide is motivated by compassion or fear. Is the basic inspiration for action driven by an anxiety concerning our own lives and expectations of our demise? Are we acting to provide ourselves with an option due to our own inherent fears of potential suffering and death and rationalizing our desire for legalized suicide couched in compassion?
Are we further breaking down the long held moral fiber of a society founded in teachings of ethical behavior and conduct that has honored and protected human life? Is this a road that that could be leading us to other unexpected interpretations and consequences in the future? Will one day the burden of care for the ill and infirmed be considered a disability to the living? Will the “right to die” become a “duty to die” rationalized by the living to preserve and protect their “right to live” as an individual unfettered from the burden of others?
We must recognize and understand for some people, suicide of any kind is a moral issue defined by religious belief. Equally we must recognize that not all people have the same beliefs or views on life. While the difference may be profound it should not overwhelm our ability to legislate what should be our safeguards for society.
Considerable thought should be rendered as to the impact on the basic foundations of society when we consider an issue of this magnitude. The erosion of the moral values of any society will one day lead to the demise not to the individuals but to a way on life.
Your decision to support or oppose suicide will be based on your own views, experience and beliefs. It is not the intent here to take a position or to encourage you to support or oppose any proposed legislation the intent here is stimulate some thought on the issue.
One day this issue will be before our courts and a determination will be required as to the constitutionality of such legislation. If our courts indeed find our constitution recognizes a “right to die” as a basic human right will they also recognize within the document a “right to live” as a basic human right?
Many of our past court interpretations of law were a reflection of the current moral thinking in our society. Like the tide along the shore the erosion and deposition can be as slow as the changes in our moral thinking, ever moving and changing in time.