I read with sadness the article in the March 4 SV Weekend, “Changing views on end-of-life decisions.” The author [Jim Nowlan] describes a scenario that is indeed unfortunate and yet familiar to many. An elderly gentleman with health issues is alone, forlorn, and no longer sees a purpose to his life. As the gentleman says, “I am ready to go.”
What I find disturbing about the article is the proposed solution: a pill to end his life. It all sounds so compassionate, but this is euthanasia, the direct taking of another’s life. It may have names that make it all seem palatable, like “death with dignity” or “aid in dying,” but the reality is the same.
If the gentleman is clinically depressed, there are medications for that. Perhaps he just needs a friend to talk with. Why are some so quick to offer death as a solution under the guise of individual autonomy?
When the state legalizes physician-assisted suicide, the role of the doctor is changed from healer to – well, you know. Disability rights groups oppose such laws because their lives may not be valued. St. Pope John Paul II labeled this as the culture of death because it denies the inviolable dignity of the human person.
I would suggest to the author that what his friend needs is a pal, not a pill.