Legislating death with dignity needs debate with dignity

Legislating death with dignity needs debate with dignity

These laws’ advocates often use intensely personal tales, such as that of former Annapolis Alderman Dick Israel, who succumbed to Parkinson’s disease, and, Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman with terminal brain cancer, who moved to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s assisted-suicide law.

Yet, that the passage of these laws relies so heavily on their raw emotional appeal should make us pause.  We need to ask some hard questions about these issues and think just as hard about their potentially ugly answers.

Have we exhausted all options related to palliative care?  If there are laws and regulations that onerously restrict physicians from prescribing the painkillers that can alleviate a terminal patient’s suffering, shouldn’t we change them first?

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