Laws on aid-in-dying are carefully crafted
Dr. Anthony Pivarunas’ June 7 Another Voice is titled, “1994 report on assisted suicide still holds true.” No, it doesn’t! The principal reason is that since 1994, medical aid-in-dying has become available in six states and Washington, D.C., and will soon also be in California and Canada. A more-than 35 year cumulative record of medical aid-in-dying shows conclusively that carefully crafted laws like Oregon’s pioneering Death With Dignity Act effectively counter concerns about possible coercion or social-economic bias in its application.
Pivarunas also invokes the doctor-patient relationship: “we pledge to act in their [the patient’s] best interest.” Who is better to judge the “best interest” than the competent, well-informed patient for whom all palliative measures may have been exhausted?
Interested readers are referred to the excellent summary of the facts about medical aid in dying by Dr. Robert Milch in the April 14 Another Voice. I quote from his article: “Those who do not endorse medical aid-in-dying, for whatever reason, need not choose it for themselves. However, denying it to others, for whatever reason, is no longer justifiable.”