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“Slippery slopes with assisted suicide” (March 6) was sad to read, as writer Michael O’Lear is very fearful and shockingly uninformed. In reality, aid in dying is so established and without problems that it’s legal in Canada, Mexico and for 20 percent of the U.S. population.

O’Lear’s claim that “suicide, by itself, is illegal,” is false. Even doing nothing the patient will die, which is why aid in dying is not suicide; it just ends patient suffering.

O’Lear lists “agendas” he fears contaminate the process — getting an inheritance quickly, avoiding patient care, patient mental health, etc. But a physician has to document what he does, including being informed about and excluding “agendas.”

O’Lear claims “A doctor agreeing to end my life makes me untrusting of his/her desire to heal me.” To be eligible for aid in dying, a patient has to be within six months of death. O’Lear fears a wrong diagnosis, but six months before death, the diagnosis is not in dispute.

O’Lear ends: “life, good or bad, is a gift” and that it’s “hubris” to have “control over its end.” But the hubris is O’Lear’s because he wants to force his personal beliefs on others. And forcing someone else to suffer is abuse!

William H. Clarke,




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