Oct. 17 2012 11:37 AM

Refuting the kooky claims against doctor-assisted suicide

Ed Decker

This year, the Massachusetts “Death with Dignity” Initiative, also known as Question 2, will appear on the state’s general-election ballot. If passed, the measure would allow doctors to give lethal drugs to terminally ill patients.

Currently, only three states allow physician-assisted suicide (Oregon, Montana and Wyoming), and it blows my mind that the other 47 states—including our so-called progressive California—think it’s perfectly acceptable to stick their noses into the health and life decisions of their citizens.

“It’s just not in the state’s interest to set up criteria for when it’s OK to kill yourself,” John B. Kelly, executive director of People with Disabilities Opposed to Assisted Suicide, told Fox News. And he’s right. It is not in the state’s interest to decide when it’s OK to kill yourself. The state, and John Kelly, should mind their own damn business and let individuals decide.

“There are no safeguards,” Kelly said about the text of the initiative. “What happens if someone changes their mind?” 

Great question! Section 12.a(1). of the Death with Dignity Initiative Petition Information Sheet states that if you change your mind during the process, two hospital security goons will strap you to a gurney while the doctor cracks his knuckles and says, “It eez verboten to change zee mind, herr Direktor,” as he slowly opens his briefcase of torture devices.

Seriously? What will happen if a patient changes his mind? Oh, I don’t know, maybe he’ll get up and leave, duh. Maybe he’ll grab a complimentary lollipop and say, “Thanks but no thanks, Doc!” Or maybe he’ll clamp his mouth shut and make an icky face when the doctor tries to hide the medicine in a teaspoon of strained bananas.

“Open zee hangar, here comes das aeroplane!” 

To say there are no safeguards in the proposed initiative is like saying there are no pit bulls in Michael Vick’s nightmares. It’s nothing if it isn’t a list of protections. For example, Death with Dignity requires the patient: 1. Be deemed mentally capable of making healthcare decisions. 2. To have been diagnosed with an incurable, irreversible disease that will likely cause death within six months. 3. Have had a terminal diagnosis and mental capability confirmed by a second doctor. 4. Obtain two witnesses, one of which must not be a family member or a party to the patient’s estate.

As a further safeguard, the patient must request the medicine twice, at least 15 days apart, to give time for introspection, consultation and, of course, mind-changing. It’s also important to note that the doctor does not administer the medicine. The patient takes it him or herself, orally, meaning he or she is in control, right up to the end.

“The terminally ill often want to end their lives but that does not mean they should be encouraged by the state,” Kelly says.

Hey, Idio-nardo duh Vinci, just because something is legal doesn’t mean the government is encouraging it. Does the government encourage smoking? Does the government encourage jumping motorcycles over busses? Does the government encourage jumping into the pool 15 minutes after you eat lunch? But of all the laughable comments that have spilled from the mouth of John B. Kelly—director of People Opposed to Other People Yearning for the Authority to Commit and Effectuate Suicide (POOPYFACES)—it is the following remark that is most ridiculous:

“People who support assisted suicide say they want to take control of their death. At the same time, they want to give doctors the power to judge if their life is no longer worth living…. Doctors would also have the power to prescribe drugs to assure a suicide attempt would succeed. How does giving such powers to doctors help people take control for themselves?” Seriously?

“How does giving such powers to doctors help people take control for themselves?” Well, because patients are the ones empowering the doctors, Poopyface. They are giving the doctor the power to do their bidding, as it pertains to the right to die with dignity.

“They want to give doctors the power to judge if their life is no longer worth living.” Again, only patients get to decide that, at which point they may request the drugs, or not.

“Doctors would also have the power to prescribe drugs to assure a suicide attempt would succeed.” Wow. You truly believe that giving a doctor the ability to write a prescription means that he now has some sort of ghastly control over you? Do you know how prescriptions work? He can write the prescription, if you ask for it, and you can go to the pharmacist, if you feel like it. Besides, who cares? If we’re going to allow doctors to prescribe a pill that will most likely kill you, why wouldn’t it be OK for him to prescribe the pill that will definitely kill you? We’re arguing over physician-assisted suicide here, not physician-bungled suicide attempts.

You know, I really never have understood these anti-Kevorkian types. There are people out there who are dying slow, terrible deaths. Their quality of life has been decimated. They are desperate to put an end to their suffering. What massive, disgusting balls a person must have to stand in the way of that—to assume they know what’s best for others—and to stand between them and their own definition of dignity. 

Write to ed@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.

Make sure not to miss the Sordid Tales podcast!