Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Death With Dignity - Six Months Later

Today's Spokesman Review brought us an AP article, which was also printed in a multitude of other publications across the country, stating that 11 terminally ill people have chosen to end their lives during the first six months after the Washington assisted suicide law took effect.

“When society starts to tell people that are ill, elderly and disabled that their lives aren’t worthy to live, they get the message,” [Eileen Geller, president of True Compassion Advocates,] said.

This is a purely emotional appeal. Note the use of "ill, elderly, and disabled" in it. There are strict guidelines that must be followed and those are spelled out in the article. Also, it's not that the terminally ill believe they are not worthy of living. They are choosing, of their own free will and for whatever reasons they like, not to live out their remaining days in pain and anguish. What a difficult decision to make. And what a huge relief we have the compassion, as well as legal authority, to allow people to make that decision.

On May 21, Linda Fleming of Sequim became the first person under Washington’s law to take her life with a deadly prescription of barbiturates. Fleming, 66, who had been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer, said she feared her remaining days would be filled with pain and mind-numbing medication.

Why "deadly" prescription? Why not "legal" prescription? Better yet, let "prescription" stand alone. Not only is "deadly" redundant but it almost indicates bias on the part of the reporter, George Tibbits. Besides, it looks like he lifted that paragraph from a related article written by William Yardley last May. And he used "lethal".

For better coverage of the subject, read this article at the Seattle PI.

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