LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Everyone has the right to choose life and death
On the last morning of their lives, Charlie and Francie Emerick were holding hands. The pair, who lived in Portland, were married for 66 years. Both were terminally ill, and died together in their bed April 20, 2017, after taking lethal doses of medication (pentobarbital and secobarbital) obtained under the state's Death with Dignity law.
Cutting life short to die painless and together was all they had wanted, and because of that law, they were able to. The ability to end one's life early is a right given to terminally ill people over the age of 18, under the Death with Dignity law.
This law is not widely available, leading to many painful deaths and separations from cancer, heart complications and a slew of other diseases.
The obvious solution to this is simple. Death with dignity should be available to everyone who needs it.
In the U.S., there are only seven states that have a legal act in place for dying with dignity. However, all of these states have safeguards to prevent it being misused.
Oregon, specifically, has four main sections to the law. The Oregon Health Authority states that the patient must be 18 years of age, they must be a resident of Oregon, they must be terminally ill and have less than six months to live, and they must submit a written request, and two vocal requests, 15 days apart from each other. These laws prevent any patients from abusing or being abused by the law.
In every state in the U.S., however, there is a law legalizing "passive euthanasia." This is when the patient dies from witheld treatment, such as refusing medication, or the immediate family opting to turn off life support for a comatose patient.
To allow the patient to refuse treatment and die painfully, or even give the family the choice, but not the patient themself, is just absurd.
If the right to refuse treatment is so widespread, then the right to die is clearly also protected under the 14th amendment, which gives the American citizen the right to basic human rights. Obviously, the right to die clearly falls under this umbrella.
The right to die is equally as important as the right to live. It is simple to see that the right to die on your own terms is incredibly important, and does much more good than bad.
To solidify this, a sample of the teachers and students at Sandy High School were polled, and the overwhelming majority of the teachers, along with 100 percent of the students polled, agreed that the right to die is important and deserves to be protected and more widely spread.
If you were to be given the opportunity to change this, it is urged that you support this cause, so people like Charlie and Francie can go out happy, and free of pain.
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