The Time for Legalized Medically Assisted Suicide – An Inviolable Human Right – Is Long Overdue2
February 29, 2016 by Alfred
As the state of Maryland’s lawmakers now discuss the legalization of medically assisted suicide, something which is now a legally protected, and therefore regulated, practice in California, Washington state, Oregon, Vermont, and Montana, as well as in many progressive democracies in Europe, we – in Maryland – as well as all of us in the United States of America, must now go for not only the legalization of medically assisted suicide in Maryland, but as well for the federalization of this legalization on such a clear-cut issue nationally, since we live in the USA and not in the FSA or the “Fragmented States of America”.
There is more than ample constitutional support for this legalization.
“We the people” who live in the secular democracy of the USA, a democracy based on the fundamental constitutional rights which grants us not only the freedom of religion, but also grants us the freedom from religion, and furthermore provides us with a solid constitutional wall which separates religion and the state. See the First Amendment as well as Article 6 of the Constitution which forbids a religious test as a requirement for holding a governmental position.
This means that no holder of public office must in any way allow his or her religious belief to in any conceivable interfere with his or her decision when it comes to as vital an issue as the inviolable human right to die with dignity and not to have imposed a period of often veritable torture prior to being “allowed” to die.
While corrupted and/or hypocritical and/or ignorant politicians believe that their individual religion gives them some inherent “right” to obstruct the legalization of medically assisted suicide, they must understand that such “right” does not exist for them on the basis of the oath they have taken to hold public office.
Former Senator Joe Lieberman, a neocon supporter of the Cheney/Bush catastrophic war on Iraq on the basis of outright lies, is an example of such a corrupted politician who infamously had the temerity to declare, on the basis of a lie, that the Constitution protects American’s right of religion but it does not protect American’s right of freedom from religion.
Similarly Republican Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis had the temerity to defy federal law when she invoked hypocritically that her religion gave her the “right” to violate the federal marital equality law which grants any two human beings the right to the covenant of marriage. Later said Clerk decided to dishonestly state that Pope Francis endorsed her illegal move. That clerk was properly reprimanded and sentenced to jail time.
Such bizarre behavior by such perversely and manipulative self-serving holders of public office must be result in such public servants to be held accountable and to be forced to resign from said public office if they dare to obstruct the progressive laws of the land on the specious basis that somehow by falsely claiming that by abiding by said laws they somehow have become “victims”, since these laws are not in agreement with their religious beliefs.
In the case of the discussion of the bill being discussed in Annapolis which calls for legalizing medically assisted suicide, we have an examples of other such corrupted politicians, who dare to inject their religious beliefs into said discussions and want to thereby impose said beliefs on their constituents.
As an example we have Maryland Senator Victor R. Ramirez (Prince George’s County) who is Catholic, and declared that he opposes the right to medically assisted suicide saying that “two” of his constituents expressed their concerns to him during a dinner sponsored by his Catholic church. To add insult to injury, Ramirez further made the following irrational statement. “Same sex marriage was about treating people the same. The death penalty was where (sic) we have an imperfect system, and the government shouldn’t be in the business of deciding life or death“. This is an example of an irrational utterance that would be risible if it were not such a serious sign of ignorance, dereliction of duty, and ignorance of the Constitution by a public servant of Maryland.
To the credit of The Washington Post, it recently published a letter-to-the-editor by Peter Kimm, who is a graduate of Catholic schools who stated that he “…disagrees with the legislative focus of the National Catholic Conference, which opposes the Maryland bill that would allow terminally ill, competent adults to self-administer prescribed medication that would quickly end their lives. (BTW, this writer while by choice guiding himself along secular-humanist values, has a background which included Catholic, Lutheran, and Jewish schooling). Mr. Kimm aptly ended his letter by stating the following. “As a physician testified at a recent hearing on the bill, “We do not have a moral obligation to prolong death”
We all do have the moral obligation to not obstruct legislation which once for all ends the torture chamber suffering which many patients are forced to go through prior to be able to peacefully and relatively painlessly die. We have the moral obligation to not deny terminally ill and suffering patients their inviolable human right which is even at this end-of-life stage a right inherent in our Constitutionally protected right to the “pursuit of happiness”, since the mere awareness for anyone who approaches this end stage of life prior to getting there, constitutes a euphoric liberation from the terrifying fear, not of so of death itself, but of the insufferable and excruciating pain they may have to endure prior to be “allowed” to die, often because of the undue influence of religion in politics and often because of the pharma-medical complex which at times profits from prolonging a patient’s agony.
Ironically and sadly, the Republican governor of Maryland Hogan, also had the temerity to first declare that as a Catholic he would oppose the aid-in-dying legislation, only to then state that he “could see both sides of this issue“, but that was after he was diagnosed with having cancer.
Often the ideal environments which are most suitable to giving end-stage terminal illness patients are found in the palliative care environments.
One of the most dedicated and experienced organization which is active in this area is Compassion and Choices.
It is important to note that there are detractors from the concept of medically assisted suicide who deliberately and inappropriately conflate medically assisted suicide with euthanasia or orthothanasia.
Wherever medically assisted suicide is legalized, it is also regulated. Typically and ideally the patient who wishes to exercise his or her right to avail him/hers self of the human right to end their lives with medical assistance, an interview of the patient and next of kin with a psychologist as well as with a lawyer is advisable and/or a requirement.
It is worthy to note that legendary National Public Radio talk show host, Diane Rehm, has written a book on the subject of the dire need for federal legislation to protect the human right of patients who wish to avail themselves of medically assisted suicide.
Diane Rehm has endured her and her beloved husband’s excessively long period of suffering prior to his death which required her husband to take the decision to stop eating. This constitutes “cruel and unusual” self-punishment which no human being in a civilized society must endure.
Diane Rehm’s book title is “On My Own”. She is giving a presentation on the subject of her book on March 31, 2016 at 7 PM at the Sixth and I Street Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC.
Thank you very much for encouraging the MD Government to correctly understand and enlist this issue for the citizens of our state. It is a long overdue progression of our human rights and should be accepted in this way.
Didn’t know about Diane Rehm’s personal story. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for writing about yet another subject that’s very important to me. Just as war is barbaric, so is not being allowed to die on one’s own terms – in peace with dignity!