I returned to my native Idaho in December 2009. Previously we lived in Spokane, where in 2008 I served as chairperson of the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide. This letter responds to Sen. Anders Blewett's letter, "Physician aid in dying: Bill's rejection a step forward" (June 10).
"Aid in dying" is a euphemism for assisted suicide. No matter how one rationalizes, it is the passing of their pain, suffering, loss of control, whatever onto those who survive them. It breaks faith with society and is a denial of their humanity. It is quite simply wrong.
Last year, aid-in-dying proponents arrived in Idaho claiming the practice was legal. Idahoans sent them packing. A former chief justice denounced the claim as "false." See page 15 at www.isb.idaho.gov/pdf/advocate/issues/adv10sep.pdf. This year, Idaho's legislature strengthened the law against causing or aiding a suicide (legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2011/S1070E1.pdf).
Legalizing assisted suicide is bad public policy for many reasons. One personal to me is doctors are not always right. In November 2005, I was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer. I sought a second opinion from the premier hospital in the nation that treats this cancer, M.D. Anderson in Houston, but they refused to see me, saying it was hopeless. Six years later, it's obvious they were wrong.
Proponents describe assisted suicide as an option that people "choose." A patient hearing this "choice" from a doctor he views as an authority figure, may just hear he has an obligation to end his life. A patient, hearing this "choice" from his children, may feel he has an obligation to kill himself. As for me, I would have missed some of the best years of my life. A state has no business encouraging any of its citizens to commit suicide.