Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A call to compassionate action

The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide in Washington State is responding to the passage of the I-1000 assisted suicide initiative by organizing compassionate care throughout Washington State

From the website:
There is so much to do, so many vulnerable people to protect... And so little time.

The situation here in Washington State is urgent. Hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and physicians across the state are determining RIGHT NOW if they will assist in suicides. The decisions they make will last for years to come. And many don’t know that under I-1000 they have the right to refrain from involvement in assisted suicide. They need to hear from you. So does the Department of Health, which is writing rules that will govern the practice. See our ‘What can I do?’ link directly above. (The ‘What can I do?’ section is updated frequently with timely action items.)

Assisted suicide directly threatens the lives of the most vulnerable people in our culture. People with disabilities, the dependent elderly, those who live with depression and mental illness and the poor are all directly threatened by assisted suicide in Washington State and elsewhere.

Take a moment: write a letter, save a life.

Our Mission
The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide (CAAS) advocates for life-affirming choices, comprehensive community support, and excellence in end-of-life care. We believe that genuine compassion provides life affirming choices for people with serious illnesses and disabilities. Through education, legislation, social policy, and community action, we endeavor to advance true compassion and true choices.

Link to the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide


HistoryWriter said...

While I appreciate your concern for "the most vulnerable" I would be interested in knowing how you conclude that my asking my physician to prescribe a drug for me to use (or not) as I see fit, threatens anyone else's life. The position you advocate, on the other hand, requires that I be dishonest with my own doctor. For example, if I'm absolutely determined to commit suicide I would have to complain (untruthfully) that I'm having difficulty sleeping, and then hoard the barbiturates he prescribes. Apparently you feel it would be better for me to lie to the doctor than to seek his assistance. In any case, my decision would have absolutely no negative effect whatsoever on any other person.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear HistoryWriter:

You have no right to ask a person to be directly involved in causing your death.

It is one thing to be suicidal, it is another thing to expect society or medical care givers to directly, intentionally and knowingly to cause your death.

Further to that, your actions or inactions have a direct link to how others are treated in society.

A physician who is willing to prescribe an intentional dose to cause your death, will be willing to do so also for others.

Some people will "choose to die" while others will have death imposed on them.

Society needs to care for the vulnerable, provide care for the person experiencing suicidal ideation and not grant a license to kill the vulnerable.

Finally, most people who seek suicide are doing so because they feel life has lost its meaning or purpose. What has society done to make that person feel that their life lacks meaning or dignity?