Should Mass. pass legislation to allow physician-assisted suicide?


At first I thought I supported assisted suicide. As a member of a peer community of people with lived experience of mental health diagnosis, trauma, and addiction, I passionately believe in self-determination regarding treatment for our physical and mental health. But when I looked more closely, I found that assisted suicide prevents choice as it threatens everyone with premature death.

We have learned a “terminal diagnosis” of six months or less to live is guesswork; 12 to 15 perrcent of people admitted to hospices survive six months or longer. A significant few will live years, even decades longer. Their lives would be lost by way of excessive trust in their doctors’ diagnoses. People can become “terminally ill,” meanwhile, if denied potentially curative and life-extending treatment by health insurance companies.

Last year, 54 percent of those taking their lives through Oregon’s medically assisted suicide program felt they were a burden. Feeling one’s very existence is burdensome to others ruins the possibility of individual choice…

My community knows that depression is insidious. We know depression does impair judgment. Absolute hopelessness and seeing no way out are common feelings for those of us who have experienced severe depression. Personally, as someone who has been suicidal in the past, I can relate to the desire for “a painless and easy way out.” However, depression is treatable and reversible. Suicide is not.

Assisted suicide programs send the message to people in emotional distress — old, young, physically ill or not — that suicide is a reasonable answer to life’s problems. It isn’t.

Read more at the Boston Globe…

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