Monday, September 7, 2009

Choice is Not a Slippery Slope.

That Ross Douthat! Once again writing to save individuals from their own rights. His boundless paternalism is breathtaking.

Sunday's article makes perfect sense. I finally get it: seniors are just like women! They must be told what to do with their bodies! And the same crew sitting around deciding when women can screw are now working to ensure that they control when seniors die.

For the facts (since neither Douthat nor his editor could be bothered with them):

*End of life counseling is not mandatory. It's not financially incentivized. It's not coerced. And it isn't assisted suicide.

*Assisted suicide, or Death with Dignity, is legal right now in three states, one of which is Montana where oral arguments were heard on Wednesday in the Baxter v Montana appeal case. Other states are experiencing movements that have have brought bills before their legislature but Montana may become the first state in the nation to declare death with dignity constitutional.

*Death with Dignity laws as they exist in Washington and Oregon require that the patient ask for it, must be within 6 months of death, must be mentally sound, and must self-administer the medicine. Oregon's law has been successfully in place for 10 years.

*In the states where DwD/AS is not legal, no one will have access to it should article 1233 be re-included in health care reform.

So why doesn't Douthat respect our seniors enough to make decisions about their own deaths?

Don't be fooled! This conversation is not about slippery slopes and government coercion. It's not about bureaucratic ineptitude, or about the fundamental laws of our humanity. It's not about greedy family members or burdens to society. It's not about money or the economy. It's not even about death!

This argument is about who owns pain and suffering. And as Garret Keizer reminds us, "Whoever owns pain owns power."

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