Abill circulated in the Minnesota Legislature this session that would give terminally ill patients the choice to end their own lives instead of suffering through pain in their final days.
While it’s almost certain this won’t become law, the aid-in-dying measure is something all Minnesotans should consider.
Five states in the country have aid-in-dying laws, which allow patients to pass through a series of requirements before being prescribed a barbiturate on which they would overdose and die in peace.
This policy is a controversial one and for good reason. Some say these laws force doctors to act unethically by “falsifying” death certificates. Others oppose the policy on moral or religious grounds.
Still, one fact remains: It’s impossible for anyone to truly feel the agony of a terminal condition unless one has experienced exactly that situation. Even then, these ailments range in the levels of pain, discomfort and handicap they instill on people.
While it’s extremely difficult to watch a loved one suffer, these aid-in-dying policies effectively don’t exist for anyone but the patient, which is why most opposing their passage should think twice when considering who their viewpoint really affects.
Death with dignity laws, as these are sometimes known, require terminally ill patients to undergo thorough evaluations before receiving the drugs, which they then choose whether to use.
These safeguards, after being thoroughly considered by doctors, should be enough to prevent anyone from making a decision in vain. While this law is a long way from existence, we hope Minnesotans begin considering its merits now.