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Euthanasia of humans
Question from Jeff Gilling on 12/17/2013:

The following was sent in opposition to a state senator who favors a new bill on euthanizing humans. It sounds like he supports the bill in order to give physicians legal defense against overmedicating patients in pain (I have heard this is a common practice). Can you please give me advice on how to engage him further.

Greetings Will: We met at Joe Newbergs house a few months ago during your run for U.S. Congress. I am impressed with the studious approach you take to govern and would like you to consider a conservative approach to a bill that is scheduled before your committee tomorrow.

Having lived through a period with my mother in hospice at her end of life, I can say with experience that “death with dignity” involves palliative care and involvement by those who love the terminal patient. I believe that euthanasia of humans takes us into a moral situation that should be avoided while relying on family and other social institutions at the end of human life provides adequate pain relief and comfort to terminal patients. Accepting human euthanasia becomes a question of whether or not we can get along with palliative care disciplines or whether we need to expand the power of the State.

There is a popular attitude that optimization trumps all else and we should look to government to improve almost everything … convenience, efficiency, effectiveness, etc. The alternate view holds that society does well with most challenges and government is needed only for common services and to regulate clear infringements of liberty. Indeed government does do a lot of things, but we should not assume it has any responsibility or capability to create happiness.

The acts of friendship and love carried out during palliative care cannot be optimized by government regulation. Just as we reject the solution of an “Animal Farm” or “Hunger Games” mentality, we must accept that certain things such as dealing with death come from the core of ourselves and cannot and should not be controlled by the State. Should we rather encourage a quick end so that family members can get on with their lives unencumbered, yet unmoved, by the experience of death? That would be an unacceptable change in human decency that is to be discouraged.

Thanks for considering my thoughts on this issue. Jeff Gilling Belmont

Answer by Judie Brown on 12/21/2013:


Your letter makes one critical error which I tell you for your own benefit only and that is that palliative care can also be a tool used in euthanizing humans. You need to be aware of this.

Jeff, If you want to engage the senator further, you might want to ask him two basic questions:

If you were the one being treated for a terminal illness, would you want others choosing when and how you die?

Would you be comfortable with a committee in a hospital or nursing home managing your health and choosing the time of your death based on cost-benefit analysis?

If you answer no to these two question, then please oppose any porposal that supports euthanizing humans

Hope this helps

Judie Brown


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