Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Physician-Assisted Suicide (For a Light, Fun Topic)

Well, physician-assisted suicide, or "death with dignity," will be on the ballot here in Washington this November as I-1000.


And, I have squishy feelings about it. I'm wavering on how to vote.

As a Christian, I do not believe that I have a right to take my own life, no matter how much I do not want to suffer in an illness. To honor my Creator, I need to trust Him with the time and manner of my death. As a daughter, I do not want my father to end his life early if, God forbid, he should have a fatal illness. I want him to be here on earth with me for as long as possible; and I will gladly take care of him and treasure him until his natural death.

However, I think it is silly and presumptuous to say that, because I feel strongly that physician-assisted suicide is immoral and unacceptable, no one should be able to contract with a physician for drugs that would end what he perceives as unreasonable suffering.

For me, this topic, unlike abortion, has myriad grey areas. Abortion is the taking of another's life -- a life so innocent and unable to speak for herself, that she deserves every protection under the law. Physician-assisted suicide, though, is only about taking one's own life. And, as disgusting and God-dismissing as that is, it is questionable to try to legislate that. Anyone who wants to may take his life at any time; and, for his survivors, it would be, I think, far easier to walk in upon a drug-overdose suicide than many other kinds.

There is, of course, a terrible precedent set by insisting that life loses some of its value in suffering. I cannot help but think that it is a bad idea to hide away end-of-life issues, because it marginalizes and disregards those who are vulnerable and dependent. Our society needs more lessons in compassion, not fewer.

I think that I will probably vote against I-1000 on November 4. This is just too much of a slippery slope for me. Plus, I will have to answer to the Most High some day for every action, every decision, and every thought. This initiative is not God-honoring; therefore, I cannot vote for it. But, I can certainly see the other side's point of view. It is a tough, highly personal issue.

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