Mary Reed, of New Orleans Right to Life, is entitled to her own opinion, published in a recent edition of The Advocate. But to me, it rings of self-righteous paternalism, of a belief that she knows better and I should not be able to make such decisions for myself.
Reed was writing about the recent death of Emily Maynard, who used Oregon’s right-to-die law to end her own life rather than suffer the lingering death of a brain-cancer victim. She said that a proper response is care, not doctor prescribed death.
Last month I attended the funeral of my aunt, a wonderful woman who had become a vegetable, her bright and lively mind taken from her by Alzheimer’s disease. Years ago, I had watched as my grandfather lay helpless, totally paralyzed by a stroke, for over two years ... his perfectly functioning mind trapped inside a useless body.
I can’t imagine a worse torture.
I have a living will that includes a medical power of attorney and an instruction that doctors should not attempt to resuscitate me if I should stop breathing. If it were legal for me to do so, it would also include provisions allowing family members, with the advice of a doctor, to allow me to be “put to sleep.” But, probably with the best of intentions, Reed has decided that I shouldn’t be allowed to make that decision even while I’m still in full control of both my body and my mind.
Frankly, it’s none of her business and none of the state’s business either.