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letters | DEBATING QUESTION 2

Peculiar irony in language of Question 2

I can’t be the only one who sees the irony in the proposed assisted-suicide law in its requirement that the request be made “orally” and “in writing,” and that the patient must be “mentally capable” of “making an informed decision.” If the goal is to ease the suffering of those whose lives are near enough to the end that they should be able to choose to die sooner than later, shouldn’t the law’s aim be to enable assisted suicide for those who are so close to dying that they lack full capacity to make oral or written statements, or develop truly informed decisions?

The idea that healthier patients should have more authority to commit suicide than less healthy patients suggests that the real goal may be preservation of profit margins. Physician-assisted suicide will reduce costs at a time in which health care policy just happens to be moving from fee for service to a more traditional market-forces system where a reduction in the demand for services saves money.

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No other class of people will be more vulnerable to hastened death under this new philosophy than the elderly. It changes nothing to call it “death with dignity.”

Wendy Murphy

Boston

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