The specter of legalizing “physician-assisted suicide” has once again raised its ugly head. The so-called “death with dignity” bills (L.D. 347 and L.D. 1066) must be recognized and strongly opposed because the potential for abuse is inherently there. These bills create an insidious conditioning process — a process that targets those who are most susceptible to this message, and persuades them to cooperate in their own demise. Soon, however, it could be without people’s cooperation, as it is happening in Holland today.

In the Netherlands, where physician-assisted suicide has been practiced extensively, doctors have definitely moved from voluntary assisted suicide to involuntary assisted suicide. Doctors have euthanized patients without their explicit consent. “Compassion” and “dignity” are no longer the points of concern. Instead, “quality of life” and convenience are the major factors as doctors, and others, decide who has a life worth living, or who is merely taking up space.

Although some measures have been put forth to make these bills more palatable, I am not convinced that these supposed “safeguards” (request in writing, mental competency, counseling, terminal illness, etc.) speak to the worth of human life. These safeguards will most likely make things neat, clean, and legal for awhile, but in a relatively short time, they will probably not be worth the paper they’re printed on. Therefore, L.D. 347 and L.D. 1066 will merely become the door through which those who are deemed unproductive, unwanted, or a tremendous inconvenience be legally dispatched to a morgue.

The elderly, the disabled, the terminally ill, or the burdensome already have their dignity, as befitting children of God. What they don’t need is legislation that emotionally and effectively contradicts this belief and puts them at great risk.

L.D. 347 and L.D. 1066 must be rejected.

Pat Truman

Hallowell