by Ilene Kaplan
January 11, 2013
Personal freedom, a core value among all Americans, means control of our lives at all times. We cherish and protect personal choice. After a lifetime exercising this freedom, people should not be denied control when excruciating illness is poised to claim their body.
Terminally ill patients want control at the end of their life, just as they’ve always controlled their other health decisions. They want assurance that if suffering and indignity make living unbearable, they have the means to peacefully end it.
Legislation has been introduced in the General Assembly that would allow a physician to prescribe medication to a mentally competent, terminally ill patient who can self-administer the medication to bring about a peaceful death. I hope, after appropriate debate, such a bill will be passed. It is time we give grown-ups the freedom to choose and let physicians willing to provide this choice feel safe in doing so. Connecticut needs a rational public policy for every end-of-life option.
In states where it is legal, aid in dying provides great comfort not only for the very few who actually use it, but for many others in just knowing the choice exists. For patients staring an unbearable death in the face — and those close to them witnessing this anguished decline — the option to end their suffering in a peaceful way is an enormous comfort. It is not for the government or anyone else to say that is wrong. More