Monday, December 8, 2014

Death is not a treatment for disease

In the Lansing State Journal, Right to Life of Michigan’s Legislative Director Ed Rivet has a piece reflecting on Brittany Maynard’s death and on Michigan’s decision to choose true compassion over assisted suicide.

The conversation about her very public campaign promoting physician-assisted suicide should cause Michiganders to recall the debate we had in the 1990s as a result of Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s lethal activities. At that time, Michigan was the epicenter of the assisted-suicide debate and as a state we gave it a very thorough examination. Let us reflect on what we learned.

We chose not to legalize assisted suicide via a 1998 statewide ballot question, rejecting Proposal B by a 71 percent to 29 percent margin. We recognized that we failed if our solution to suffering was to kill those who suffer. Better alternatives were available. We approved new laws and administrative rules to increase access to hospice care, gave doctors more discretion to aggressively use pain medications, and improved training for palliative care and pain management in the health professions.