Saturday, November 3, 2012

Question 2 will put the vulnerable at risk

Dear Editor:

The desire "not to be a burden," has been part of all five suicides I have experienced as a priest.  Pre-death interviews in Oregon and Washington show that those who make use of Physician Assisted Suicide there often state the desire "not to be a burden" as their primary motivation.  Not suffering, but rather the challenge of being dependent on the aid of others.

The greatest misconception about legalizing Assisted Suicide is that it is strictly about giving individuals the right to make choices for themselves - that it will not impact others.  The reality is that once suicide is introduced as a legal option in some circumstances, it becomes a more acceptable and likely option for society as a whole.  Consider Oregon.  Oregon passed doctor-assisted suicide in 1994.  Now, suicide is the leading cause of "injury death" there, and the second leading cause of death among 15 to 34 year olds.  The suicide rate in Oregon, which had been in decline before 1994, is now 35 percent higher than the national average.

As one who ministers to the dying and the depressed, I am deeply concerned that if passed, Question 2 will put many more vulnerable persons at risk.  Do you know a teen, or family member, or coworker who suffers from depression?  A yes vote for Question Two would tell those individuals that yes, sometimes the deliberate taking of one's own life is an appropriate choice.  On their behalf, please join in defeating Question 2.


Pastor, St. Mary's, Holliston
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