Friday, October 16, 2015


No, this post i not about abortion although I think some of the arguments might be similar. 

Recently the state of California legalized physician assisted suicide.  Obviously the issue raises difficult moral and ethical questions.  I won't address them here except to say that difficult moral and ethical questions first and foremost need to be addressed by the person immediately facing them.  Of course there are social and community concerns that cannot be ignored but the struggle belongs to the individual facing the situation.

I have struggled with this question and my basic orientation always leans towards life.  My gut says that even in the most painful and difficult of times, there is something wondrous and wonderful about life and that should never be discounted.  At the same time I saw images on 9/11 that made me think differently.

We also saw peole jump from the towers to their deaths, knowing that they were committing suicide.  At the same time, death was imminent as the flames came towards them.  The choice was clearly between dying a painful death of burning or a quick one from the impact of a fall from the towers.  I don't know what I would have done if faced with that choice but I do know how I feel about burning and it is not a way that I would choose to die.  So, I asked myself, was the decision to jump an immoral one?  Did I have the right to condemn those who would choose one way to die over another, knowing that death was clearly coming? 

And so, I come to physician assisted suicide with a new perspective.  For those for whom death is clearly coming - a death that may be slow and painful and erase all that they are  - who am I to say that a choice of a quick and painless suicide might not be a reasonable decision for them to make? 

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