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Death with Dignity is 'aid in dying' to be correct


To the editor:

The November issue of the Regal Courier included an article titled "Cancer survivor now opposes assisted suicide."

You did your readers a disservice by publishing that article without a sidebar addressing its anecdotal nature and its inaccuracies. The Death with Dignity movement has been working hard to make sure people have accurate information, and articles such as yours set the effort back considerably.

First of all, the term "assisted suicide" is inaccurate. Based on the Oregon law, a person who has a terminal condition and is close to death has the right to ask for a prescription for a medication to hasten his or her death. Thus, the proper term for the concept is "aid in dying."

The person with the terminal condition is required to make the request for the medication in writing and to be examined by two different medical providers and be declared to be close to death. Other conditions apply, including the right of a medical provider to refuse to prescribe the medication. All these safeguards are specified in the law.

I believe people deserve options. I believe everyone should have the option to choose when enough suffering is enough, and quality of life is not good enough to continue to live. If you look at the statistics, you will see that over the years that the Oregon law has been in effect, a relatively small percentage of people who die in a year request, and an even smaller percentage of people use, the prescriptions to provide aid in dying.

That does not mean the option should be removed. Having more options is always better than fewer options.

Please, in the future, do your readers a kindness by covering issues objectively and fully. Thank you.

Martha Swain