Oregon Solidifies America’s Culture Of Death

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/04/06/oregon-solidifies-americas-culture-of-death/

Physician-assisted suicide is now legal regardless of what state you live in.

It isn’t because of a new law passed at the federal level or the state level. The U.S. Supreme Court didn’t issue some weird interpretation of the federal constitution claiming that people have the right to have someone kill them. In fact, physician-assisted suicide remains officially illegal in 40 of the country’s 50 states.

However, last week, the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Medical Board, and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop the state’s residency requirement for physician-assisted suicide.

So while a Massachusetts resident can’t legally get a doctor to intentionally kill him after he leaves the womb in the Commonwealth, he can drive cross-country or take an airplane to Oregon to get it done.

Oregon’s law allows people who are at least 18 years old, “capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him/herself, and diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months,” to have a physician end their life. 

It’s a policy change that’s not receiving enough attention. It’s yet another step in the wrong direction.

We live in a country where more than 60 million unborn people have been killed via legal abortion since Roe v. Wade in 1973. However, elective abortion didn’t become legal for Bay Staters in 1973. It became legal for them in 1970 when they could drive to Albany or take a train to New York City to kill their child. New York, after all, was the first state in the country to legalize elective abortion without a residency requirement (and the second overall). 

So while Massachusetts rejected physician-assisted suicide at the ballot in 2012 (51 percent to 49 percent), the pro-death activists at poorly-named organizations like Compassion & Choices and Death with Dignity keep trying to push this divisive issue onto the public.

And liberal politicians in both major parties in this state don’t care that Bay Staters said no; the pols want it anyway (S.1384 and H.2381). That includes many Democratic state legislators, of course. But at least three Republicans in the Massachusetts House of Representatives want to legalize physician-assisted suicide, too.

And yes, that includes Maura Healey, the Democratic state attorney general and candidate for governor, who finally took a position on the issue.

Supporters argue that slowing physician-assisted suicide is a way to alleviate people’s pain and suffering. But the point of health care should be saving lives, not ending them.

To be fair, pain and suffering are hard to deal with. But doctors know how to lessen pain. They can’t eliminate it, because it’s part of the human condition.

The question is:  Do we value human life even when living is hard?

The opposite is a culture of euthanasia. In other words:  a culture of death.

We don’t have to imagine what such a culture looks like. In Belgium, for example, you doesn’t have to have a terminal illness diagnosis to have a doctor kill you; that provision was removed in 2002. And in 2014, the so-called Right to Die was extended to terminally ill children. So in Belgium, it’s now legal to kill children outside the womb as well as inside it. 

It’s not just Belgium, either. In February, two healthy American women went to Switzerland and never returned; they died by assisted suicide, according to The Daily Beast

It’s horrific, but our state and our country could be like Belgium and Switzerland one day soon.

Our society should try as hard as possible to prevent people from killing themselves; people get one chance to live on this earth. Suicide is a tragedy regardless of the method used. That includes a lethal injection from a physician.

We already live in a country with some of the most extreme abortion laws in the world. It’s one of seven countries on earth that allows for elective abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy; it’s on a list that includes self-identified communist countries like China, North Korea, and Vietnam. Plus, unlike most of the developed world, capital punishment is legal in the United States; the government has the power to kill its people as a form of criminal justice. 

And now we have another cruel form of death available to elderly and not-so-elderly Americans nationwide. 

Instead of finding new ways to kill people, the government should work on finding new ways to save people’s lives, raise the country’s life expectancy, and foster a society in which people want to live — and not kill themselves.

Some day, perhaps, a large majority of Americans will come to their senses, see what we have done, and add a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects life from conception until natural death.

Until then, though, let’s resolve to live by a simple principle:  Kill as few people as we can.


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