Monday, December 22, 2008

Washington State's Assisted Suicide Initiative

Washington State voters have approved an initiative allowing for medically-assisted suicide and many Catholic news sources have been writing about this latest development.

This issue really concerns me, in more ways than one. As a person living with an incurable cancer and systemic lupus, I know better than most how painful such diseases can be and how modern medicine often can not alleviate the excruciating pain that accompanies them without also bringing a person's life to an end in the process. I certainly can't blame someone for not wanting to die writhing in pain or after having to spend months on end heavily drugged into a semi-unconscious stupor.

That said, I am concerned about the sort of pressure that many people with incurable illnesses face. It's easy to feel like a burden when you know that staying alive may bring about financial ruin for your spouse and/or children, when you know that they can't afford to pay for you to get the sort of treatment that might make it possible for you to receive hospice care, when you know that a protracted final illness will mean dying in the cold, sterile environment of a hospital instead of the place of your choosing. Maybe if people of faith put as much effort into addressing these problems as they expend fighting about the perceived tragedy of abortion, then they might actually convince more people that they aren't just against women being able to control their own bodies.


Anonymous said...

I thought Medicare paid fully for hospice care? And if you don't have SSDI you would be fast-tracked if you applied. With a 2 year wait for Medicare to kick in so I'm not implying you need hospice now. But anyone who has worked and has an incurable cancer is fast-tracked for SSDI, no income requirements, only work credits requirements. Maybe this is too instrusive, if so I apologize. I think our local hospice program accommodates everyone, insured or not but it gets good contributions.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused, you start with a link to Catholics talking about it, but then berate us for not taking the issue as seriously as abortion. The Catholic church is staunchly against assisted-suicide, abortion, eugenics and the death penalty.

In the UK only one of those is legal. In America only one of those is occurs around 800,000 times a year. Are we Catholics really so hypocritical if we spend more time opposing abortion? (As long as we spend some time opposing all of them)

Not that I support the churches approach to abortion, but that's not the topic of your post.

Anonymous said...

p.s. I know this is OT, but I often read your blog, but never post, so while I'm here:

I read many of your long and involved arguments against those vile transphobic idiots on the Michfest forums, and I commend you for your untiring patience and dogmatic insistence on avoiding hate and prejudice and calling them on all the really really stupid sickening things they said. I would not have had the stamina. And, y'know, as a man, I'm not supposed to post on those boards, so even if someone said something vile, I wouldn't be able to contradict it.

bint alshamsa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bint alshamsa said...

Hey Bollo,

I responded to your comment with a new post that I hope clarifies what I meant when I wrote this one. I certainly wasn't trying to berate Catholics and I didn't mean for it to sound as if I was talking about what Catholics should do, as opposed to what all religious people might benefit by doing. Please accept my apology for not making that clear enough in this post. Here's a link to the new post:

Euthanasia in Theory vs. Assisted Suicide Laws