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Letters to the Editor Show Support for Death with Dignity Nationwide

July 31, 2019

In newspapers across the U.S., advocates, patients, medical professionals, and elected leaders are voicing their support for assisted dying. Here are the best letters to the editor published in June and July 2019:

Maine

“Editorial: In praise of Maine’s responsible Death with Dignity Act,” Foster’s Daily Democrat, 6/21/19

“Governor Janet Mills is to be applauded for thinking carefully about this highly emotional, deeply personal issue and putting safeguards in place to protect against abuses,” writes the Daily Democrat editorial board.

“We also congratulate Rep. Patty Hymanson, D-York, a retired neurologist, who championed the Death with Dignity Act in the Legislature.

“In our view, dying and death are highly personal and private matters best left in the hands of individuals, their families and their physicians. While the state has a role in safeguarding the rights of the living, ultimately the decision of a terminally ill patient to end his or her life rightly belongs to that individual and not the state.”

“Death with dignity gives patients the opportunity to end life on their own terms,” Portland Press Herald, 7/2/19

Our friend, Amanda Carr, RN, penned this eloquent editorial on how her professional experience and personal story inform her support for aid in dying.

“I meet people who are dying every day. I rarely meet someone who wants to die. Mostly I find they want to live, and are at various stages of reconciling how one can desperately want to keep living when the option no longer exists. When they no longer have more time, what becomes most precious are things like family, love, comfort, communication and perceived dignity. If my grandmother were here today, I have every faith she’d be a champion of death with dignity.

“Her intent was always to live purposefully, comfortably and in charge of her faculties, on her terms, without suffering. When that was no longer an option, neither was life. It was her body, her choice, her intent, her courage–as it should be for every citizen of Maine.”

Massachusetts

“End of life options: A compassionate option,” MassLive, 7/8/19

Massachusetts State Senator James Welch shares why, for the first time, he is co-sponsoring death with dignity legislation.

“By co-sponsoring the bill and sharing my emergent understanding of the issue I aim to join in and amplify a growing dialogue. With so many states leading the way on this type of care, I hope Massachusetts may take a compassionate look at what these states have offered those who are terminally ill and out of life saving options.”

“Should Mass. pass legislation to allow physician-assisted suicide?Boston Globe, 7/11/19

Our friend in Massachusetts, Molly Walsh, states her support for the state’s End of Life Options Act (she did not author the article title).

“I want the option of dying quickly and peacefully, surrounded by my family and friends for myself,” she writes. “I pray our legislators enact this law.”

“Leaders must allow us to limit the pain of dying,” Barnstable Patriot, 7/30/2019

Massachusetts resident Moira Shea, MD, who is dying from a terminal illness, writes, “The End of Life Options Act would allow patients with this horrible dilemma to know that they can, at least, limit their amount of terminal suffering, and would enable them to spend their last days at home with their family.”

New Hampshire

“NH should follow Maine in Death with Dignity law,” Seacoast Online, 6/17/19

New Hampshire resident Chari Bach says, “Yahoo to the great state of Maine” for adopting an assisted dying law. “Hopefully, with Vermont & Maine (who have both adopted similar bills), and Massachusetts who is very close; the movement and wisdom will affect us in New Hampshire. Let’s get on board for ourselves.”

Ohio

“Vest end-of-life decisions where it matters most – in the hands of the dying,” Cleveland.com, 6/25/19

“It’s important to remember: People who obtain this prescription [for medical aid in dying] do not want to die. However, they know they are dying. …They simply want to live their remaining time with the knowledge that their deaths, inevitable and imminent, will be as peaceful as possible.”

Read this powerful op-ed by Ann Rowland, who is on the board of our grassroots partner organization, Ohio End of Life Options.

Featured image credit: Tom Magliery

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