Letter: Death with Dignity needed
For a high school project I am trying to make people aware of a policy passed in Washington, Oregon and Vermont: The Death with Dignity Act. All of the states have very similar requirements: must be 18 or older, have a written request and two oral requests spaced 15 days apart. They must be residents of Oregon, Washington or Vermont. A physician must diagnose them with a terminal illness that will kill them within six months. The physician will also decide whether the patient is mentally competent or not. Patients are allowed to cancel their request at any time.
We want the Death with Dignity act to pass in Colorado. The Death with Dignity bill was already proposed but failed. We think that this happened because of how the bill was worded. The policy described above was slightly modified for Colorado, but I don’t think the change was necessary.
Although the bill recently failed, there has been talk that it will be proposed again later. Pricing wise, the cost for the lethal drug is less than $100. Additional cost can include physician appointments or a psychological consult if required. Some insurance companies will cover the medical costs. The advantages of this bill are that you have the freedom to choose death over suffering with a terminal illness, and is an extension of a person’s right to refuse life-saving medication. The disadvantages of this policy are that people see it as mercy killing, and people may influence terminally ill patients to end their life due to the fact that it would be cheaper than paying for expensive medication. Most opposition has something to do with religion, although we should keep in mind that not everyone shares the same religious view, and this bill is not promoting death but giving the option and allowing terminally ill to know every one of their options.
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