Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Cost of Taking a Life

I was going through my emails and found this excellent letter to the editor by Winnipeg citizen Anna Desilets. This letter was printed in the Winnipeg Free on November 19, 2011 as a Letter of the day.

The letter stated:
The cost of taking a life

Re: Ottawa begged to decriminalize euthanasia, (Nov. 16). Those seeking the "right" to die are in fact seeking a so-called right to be killed at a time of their own choosing.

The argument used is a familiar one: "It's my body and I can do with it what I want." Yet by the time a person wishes to die, they are unable to take their own lives and must oblige others to kill them. Their dying thus becomes not a mere personal question, but one for the society, which must supply both the killer and the means.

How much must a person, be it a doctor or other, have to harden him or herself to take another's life? What does this killing do to the killer? At a time of increasing older and ill populations and decreasing health-care dollars, how long will it take for the ill to feel the subtle message that their living is a burden to be disposed of?

I am a volunteer at a long-term health-care facility and am in awe at the courage of people living with long-term illnesses. They deserve our help to live well in spite of illness. They deserve our compassionate care, our love, our palliative care. Killing negates all positive thinking and acting. We would, as a society, be well-advised to mark the cautionary words of John Updike: "Death, once invited in, leaves its muddy boot prints everywhere."

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