Letter: Flawed opposition
This fall, Coloradans will vote on Proposition 106, the end-of-life options act. It is almost identical to Oregon’s 1997 Death with Dignity Law. Since 1997, three other states (California, Vermont and Washington) have implemented similar legislation, and in Montana, courts have made medically assisted dying legal. Canada and many European nations also allow this option. Oregon’s legislation includes careful monitoring and annual reports. During its first 19 years, 1,545 Oregonians received lethal prescriptions and 941 used them. Verifiable reports of abuses are virtually nonexistent.
Some people have deeply held religious or moral objections to hastening death in any way. If that describes you, please consider also the ethics of forcing those beliefs on others. If, in good conscience, you reach the conclusion that it is moral for you to do that, you ought not to vote against your conscience.
But “good conscience” hardly describes the organized opposition to 106. They are calling it “fatally flawed.” Is it flawed? Of course. Almost anything can be considered flawed, but the flaws they cite exist in every state where similar legislation is already working quite well. For example, their currently featured “flaw” is that we cannot be certain the medication is administered properly and without coercion because no doctor is required to be present at time of death. Please.
The opposition to 106 is almost entirely funded from two multimillion-dollar donations; one from the Catholic Diocese and one from Focus on the Family. Are we to believe these groups are really concerned about some alleged flaws in this particular proposition, that if these flaws were corrected, that if we had a doctor administering the medication Focus on the Family and the Catholic Church would be in favor of 106? Of course not. These groups are opposed to 106 out of sincere religious beliefs, and that is their right, but it is not their right to use deception to impose those beliefs on others and that is exactly what they are trying to do. How moral is that?
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