Share this article

print logo

Letter: Aid in dying should be option for terminally ill

Aid in dying should be option for terminally ill

Dennis Vacco’s opinion piece, “Aid in dying legislation is help for the few, harm for the many,” is a perfect example of fearmongering that is not based on logic.

Vacco seems to be suggesting that allowing a terminally ill person with no hope of recovery to end his or her life peacefully with a prescribed medication, in order to avoid prolonged suffering, will lead to the forced deaths of the poor, the elderly and the disabled.

“Slippery slope” arguments like these are often fallacious, like saying any form of gun control, such as banning automatic weapons, will lead to confiscation of all guns and a totalitarian police state; or that gay marriage will lead to people marrying animals.

In Oregon, where aid in dying has been legal for 18 years, there has been no indication whatsoever of harm to these populations. Given the safeguards in the proposed aid in dying legislation, the potential for abuse is extremely low, whereas the potential to relieve suffering is extremely high.

And yes, there are other ways to relieve suffering, such as better pain management and hospice care. I am completely in favor of those alternatives being the first course of action to relieve suffering. But they don’t always work, and when they fail, the alternative of aid in dying should be available to those who wish to use it.

Laurie Leonard

Associate Director

End of Life Choices New York