Once right-to-die legislation has been enacted for the terminally ill, we should anticipate and be prepared for the “slippery slope” — the next step in the movement to include emotional pain and suffering.

It is only a matter of time that others will demand equal rights of dying. It will be argued, “Who is it to determine whether a person’s emotional anguish, burden, crisis, addiction, disability, prison life sentence, chronic illness, trauma, shame, aging experience, etc., are not equal suffering to that of a terminally ill person? Why shouldn’t they be able to have the final say when and how to choose to end their life?”

If only a particular group of people are afforded this right, this will be touted as discrimination.

This is not so far-fetched, considering laws we have today that would have been thought of as far-fetched not so long ago.

Over the course of time, we have seen suicide, a despondent state-of-mind act, perverted into extreme acts of violence in the name of patriotism (Kamikaze), religion (suicide bombers), and anger/control (domestic abuse murder-suicide). It seems to me that right-to-die is another mask the culture of death is wearing, disguising itself as compassion. This deception can be hard to see through because isn’t compassion a good thing?

Right-to-die and assisted-dying have replaced the terms assisted-suicide and euthanasia, but this does not change what it is. Hearing about a suicide triggers the natural reactions of grief, confusion and sometimes anger, even if we don’t know the person or family personally. Eliminating the word suicide and using the words dignity, compassion, basic humanity and free will misleads people into believing that this choice has no negative consequences.

No matter what we name this, there will be a repressed reality that will not change the repercussions of suicide. Ultimately, suffering will not be avoided or eliminated, but redirected in ways we have no way of knowing in advance.

A column published on Feb. 28 had the headline, “Discussion should begin on right to make one’s own end-of-life decision.” This issue is not new; it began with the pro-choice movement and has mutated to this. What it is time for is not a discussion about slippery slopes but the core belief of those who oppose right-to-die/pro-choice — the deep desire for everyone’s soul to live on when the body dies. Talking with family and friends is where this should start.

An acquaintance once told me that he asked his grandmother what it felt like to be dying. She responded that she wasn’t dying, but was living until she took her last breath. What wisdom and love she taught him and me in her final days of life.

In the end it is how we live our life, face adversity, and live out our final days that will be truth’s voice. My hope is that more people will come to know, through the lives of people they love and care for, that a law does not necessarily make something truth.

Amy R. Fournier lives in Waterville.


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