Friday, September 26, 2003
( 9:32 AM )
A Mama's Love
Thanks to HyLo for pointing me to this story. A young man in France died in hospital today after lapsing into a coma. He went into the coma because his mum tried to help him to die, per his wishes. Of course people are calling for her head. I disagree with those people. This issue is long overdue for discussion.
Do people have the right to die if they want to? In France, this young man and his mother have sparked a debate:
Humbert's case has recently been at the center
of a media blitz, programmed by the young man
and his mother. They made no secret that a plan
for a mercy killing was in place, and Humbert
published a book arguing in favor of his right to die.
Humbert, at one point, had written to President
Jacques Chirac beseeching him for the "right to die."
His mother's attempt to end Humbert's life came
on the third anniversary of a car accident that
left him incapacitated. The mother's actions
reopened the debate in France over whether
there should be a law making euthanasia legal.
Here in Oregon, this issue is very prominent. Not once, but twice, Oregon voters have voted for a law enabling doctors to aid in euthenasia for their patients - it's called the Death With Dignity Act. John Aschcroft's Justice Department has taken our state to court to stop us from enacting the will of the people... the case is still in appeal.
It seems to me that cases like Vincent Humbert and his Mama will continue to occur- loving parents and spouses taking things into their own hands. Wouldn't it be better to have a physician assist in this final act of mercy for someone? If we claim to be a moral and just society and to protect the rights of all people to live, to be free, etc. Shouldn't we also protect their right to die if they so choose? Studies have already shown that since the law was enacted here in Oregon, there hasn't been some out-of-control increase in assisted deaths - doctors aren't running around killing people. On the contrary, people who are in such intolerable pain that living is a daily torture have had the right to discuss their situation openly and honestly with their physician, and with the consent of their families and the aid of their doctor, go into a peace that they have longed for.
I cannot imagine being in Mama Humbert's place. Seeing my child suffer so horribly, knowing what he clearly wants and wanting it for him, yet knowing that my act of mercy for him will mean lifelong loss and pain for myself when my son is gone. The process she had to go through to come to the place where she realized that helping her son die was the most loving thing she could have done for him could not have been an easy one for her. But I would like to think that if I were in the same position, I would do the same no matter what the laws said. Above all, we must protect and care for each other. The law here in Oregon does just that. John Ashcroft should leave us alone and let people here in Oregon who are like young Vincent Humbert live AND die in peace.