Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Jersey Advances Toward ‘Right to Die’ Justice

The New Jersey Star-Ledger editorialized that New Jersey is the next platform for the right-to-die debate:

After observing that:

The decision by Brittany Maynard to legally end her own life in Oregon Saturday was the latest cause célèbre for the majority of Americans who assert the right to self-determination.

The Star-Ledger wrote that:

The New Jersey Death with Dignity Act “would sanction an act of humanity, because the state’s only role should be to allow people their profoundly personal choices, especially the choice to die with dignity.

I left these comments:

“. . . the state’s only role should be to allow people their profoundly personal choices . . .”

I’m going to remember that sweeping statement for future reference. Though I believe the wording should be , “. . . the state’s only role should be to protect people’s inalienable right to their profoundly personal choices . . .” I profoundly agree.

As regards this issue, I fully agree with the The New Jersey Death with Dignity Act, as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough, being restricted as it is only to terminally ill people with six months to live. What about people existing in a state of living death? This very newspaper published a story by NJ Star-Ledger columnist Bob Braun about Christina Symanski. Symanski wasn’t terminally ill. After years of living in what she herself rationally judged to be an intolerable life, she wanted to end it. But she could find no legal professional help—not even if she moved to Oregon. So she was left with starving herself to death over several agonizing weeks.

As for myself, although 65 and currently healthy, the possibility of a horrendous end-of-life scenario is very real. I am going to die. We all are. We can’t always control how and when we die. But to the extent that I can, who has the right to stop me? Whether I have only months left due to a terminal illness, or years of living death, who has the right to take away what control I have? It’s my life, and my death.

Assisted suicide should not only be legal for people with a terminal illness, but for anyone who judges his life to be no longer worth living.

In answer to correspondent NJ Conservative, who posted comments against the bill, I asked:

And by what right does the state forbid any adult of sound mind from making his own choices regarding how and when to die, by his own rational judgement, by his own hand, with his own money, in cooperation with willing doctors and pharmacists?

No answer. There really isn’t any.

Both the NJ Senate and the NJ Assembly advanced the bill out of committee. As of this writing, we await the vote of the full legislature.

Related Reading:

Denying Assisted Suicide Rights Based on Potential “Abuse” is Immoral

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

My only bone to pick is the concept of PERSONAL choice. ALL choices are personal, as long as acting on them doesn't violate the rights of others. Unless that's specified and explained, the concept can be construed way too narrow.