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DEBATE OVER ASSISTED SUICIDE

She pushed for legal right to die, and — thankfully — was rebuffed

A scene from "How to Die in Oregon," which address physician-assisted suicide. The film won the grand jury prize for documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
A scene from "How to Die in Oregon," which address physician-assisted suicide. The film won the grand jury prize for documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.Peter D. Richardson

I DISAGREE with Scot Lehigh’s Sept. 23 column, which characterizes assisted suicide as only involving people who are going to die in “a few months or weeks’’ (“Death with dignity in Mass.,’’ Op-ed). I am a retired person living in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal. Our law was enacted through a ballot initiative that I voted for. In 2000, I was diagnosed with cancer and told that I had six months to a year to live.

I knew that our law had passed, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about making use of it. I tried to ask my doctor, but he didn’t really answer me. I didn’t want to suffer. I wanted to do what our law allowed, and I wanted my doctor to help me. Instead, he encouraged me not to give up, and ultimately I decided to fight the disease. I had both chemotherapy and radiation.

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I am so happy to be alive! It is now 11 years later.

If my doctor had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead. I thank him and all my doctors for helping me to choose “life with dignity.’’

Assisted suicide should not be legal. I hope Massachusetts does not make this terrible mistake.

Jeanette Hall

King City, Ore.