Assisted dying has recently been discussed by lawmakers in numerous states and countries, sparking intense debate.
According to MedicineNet, assisted dying is “the practice of providing a competent patient with a prescription for medication for the patient to use with the primary intention of ending his or her own life.”
In the United States, assisted dying is legal in only nine states: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
Right-to-die bills are currently being considered in Iowa, New Hampshire and Virginia.
On the international front, the Spanish government has moved forward with a bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted dying.
A 2018 survey by Gallup found that 72 percent of Americans are in support of assisted dying.
However, there are still some who believe assisted dying is “unethical” and allows medical professionals to “play God.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Assisted dying is, on the contrary, an act of mercy. It should be the patient’s choice and not limited by laws.
If one has a terminal illness and wishes to die with dignity, then why should they be denied that right?
Some believe aiding a patient in dying is inhumane, but what’s truly inhumane is prolonging a patient’s suffering when they wish to end it.
On Death with Dignity National Center’s website, people share their experiences watching a loved one grapple with terminal illness.
One story was shared by Adrienne Dare, a retired college professor who watched her 90-year-old mother, Louise, battle terminal cancer.
Louise underwent radiation in an attempt to reduce the tumor, but eventually had to stop treatment because the pain was too much for her to bear.
When Louise was in hospice care shortly thereafter, her pain couldn’t be managed by pain medication.
She decided to use Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act to put an end to her suffering.
Adrienne cried upon hearing her mother’s request for the first time, but she knew it’s what was best for her mother.
She said her mother died peacefully within a few minutes after taking the medicine, with a smile on her face.
This experience encouraged Adrienne to become a Death with Dignity advocate. She wanted all patients with terminal illness to have the same choice her mother did.
This story, along with others on Death with Dignity National Center’s website, further solidified my belief that the terminally ill should be given the autonomy to determine their own fates.
The Death with Dignity Act has brought peace to families and could bring peace to so many more if assisted dying is legalized nationally.