Via The Stranger (Seattle, WA):
Columnist, author, journalist, and newspaper editor Dan Savage, widely known for his weekly column Savage Love, has written this thoughtful essay, "In Defense of Dignity," about the recent death of his mother from pulmonary fibrosis. It's written, in part, in the context of this coming November's ballot (Initiative 1000) in Washington State on assisted suicide. Lots of discussion follows the article in the comments section. Here is a small excerpt:
... Without the intervention of man—and medical science—my mother would have died years earlier. And at the end, even without assisted suicide as an option, my mother had to make her choices. Two hours with the mask off? Six with the mask on? Another two days hooked up to machines? Once things were hopeless, she chose the quickest, if not the easiest, exit. Mask off, two hours. That was my mother's choice, not God's.
Did my mother commit suicide? I wonder what the pope might say.
I know what my mother would say: The same church leaders who can't manage to keep priests from raping children aren't entitled to micromanage the final moments of our lives.
If religious people believe assisted suicide is wrong, they have a right to say so. Same for gay marriage and abortion. They oppose them for religious reasons, but it's somehow not enough for them to deny those things to themselves. They have to rush into your intimate life and deny them to you, too—deny you control over your own reproductive organs, deny you the spouse of your choosing, condemn you to pain (or the terror of it) at the end of your life.
The proper response to religious opposition to choice or love or death can be reduced to a series of bumper stickers: Don't approve of abortion? Don't have one. Don't approve of gay marriage? Don't have one. Don't approve of physician-assisted suicide? For Christ's sake, don't have one. But don't tell me I can't have one—each one—because it offends your God.