Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Should We Prolong or End Unnecessary Suffering?

This week, former Jesuit student and current governor of California Jerry Brown signed a law that makes his state the fifth in the nation to offer solace and relief to certain terminally ill patients.

California’s “Death with Dignity” act is modelled after a similar law in Oregon that gives people with less than six months to live the option to accelerate their inevitable dying process by prescribing medication that enables them to die peacefully at the time and place of their choosing.

There’s a bill that would extend these choices to New Jersey residents who find themselves in similar tragic situations. The bill is supported by a diverse, bi-partisan group of legislators ranging from Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) to the Assembly Minority Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon (R).

There are multiple of safeguards in the bill that would ensure the patient is not making a decision under coercion, and experience in Oregon demonstrates that this option is not being misused.

Opposition to giving people this choice is huge. Some oppose on religious grounds, but people need to remember that this aid in dying initiative is totally optional and one’s religious beliefs should never be imposed on someone else. Others like Governor Christie oppose the bill for political purposes. He would rather cater to the misnamed “pro-life” crowd and see prolonged suffering of someone who is severely ill than allow that person the choice of how to end the final chapter of life.

We won’t see enactment of death with dignity as long as Christie is governor. But he won’t be in that office forever. It’s time to alleviate unnecessary pain and suffering and enact New Jersey’s  Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.

1 comment:

  1. Prolong or end indeed. At the same time he signed this bill he vetoed one that would allow terminally ill patients easier access to experimental treatments. End is cheaper.