安乐死 – 选择的权利
本文获得: Play Club annual essay competition Golden Award
作者：Edward Fanghua Yu
Euthanasia- The Right to Choose
Edward Fanghua Yu
High School Division, Male
12th Grade, Dougherty Valley High School
Dear Mr. Governor,
Just last month, an extremely significant bill was stalled in California’s legislature-SB 128. The bill would have legalized euthanasia within the state, but was unable to pass the Assembly’s Health Committee. I strongly believe that there is a compelling argument for euthanasia that is being clouded out by the dogmatic, outdated responses of the opposition. Its successful implementation in both Washington and Oregon demonstrate its viability. I hope to convince you to use your authority as governor to call a legislative session to pass the bill.
A commonly used argument against legalization is that accepting euthanasia would lead to negative effects such as decreased investment in palliative care and familial coercion to commit suicide, particularly among lower income patients. But the passage of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) has led to an improvement in palliative care. After the act passed, Oregon quickly assembled a task force to improve their palliative care efforts and removed broad laws that limited the use of pain medication, allowing doctors more freedom to use individualized treatments on terminally ill patients.
This is cited as improving the palliative care services of the state. In fact, only a quarter of the patients of DWDA cited inadequate pain relief as a reason for euthanasia. DWDA does not disproportionately affect the poor either. Only three percent of Oregon’s patients cited financial implications as a reason for euthanasia. Interestingly, the trio of common anti-euthanasia arguments- that patients will be affected by financial pressure, familial pressure, or a decrease in spending on pain control- makes up the smallest three concerns of DWDA recipients. This is because euthanasia programs are coupled with intense provisions preventing pressure from affecting the patient’s judgment. Washington’s DWDA requires two physicians to verify the patient’s mental health and an unrelated adult to sign off on the patient’s request to legitimize the process.
It is important to understand that legalizing euthanasia will not normalize it. Legalization of euthanasia only provides an option to patients who are suffering from chronic illnesses and cancer. In Washington, where there are an estimated twelve thousand deaths due to cancer per year, less than two hundred choose euthanasia, which is equivalent to less than two percent. Many moral arguments stem from a fear of corrupted ethics due to an overpowering trend of suicides, but with such small results, these arguments are misleading.
Euthanasia is important because it allows patients who want to preserve their dignity and autonomy the ability to do so. Terminally ill patients may still choose to undergo normal methods of treatment. But legalization of euthanasia empowers those who want to forgo the degradation that the disease will inevitably cause to their bodies. Those patients who do not want to see themselves slowly waste away in a hospital bed can now relieve their suffering. A prominent activist for euthanasia was Brittany Maynard, a resident of California who had to move to Oregon to exercise her right to choose. Diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma multiforme, an extremely malignant brain cancer, she knew would die within months. After discussing with many experts what her last days would be like, she was terrified and knew she did not want to die that way. Euthanasia allowed her to die with her dignity. I believe that she should not have had to leave our state to end her suffering. By passing SB-128, you would allow terminally ill patients like Brittany to find an end to their torment. You would give these patients the greatest gift. You would give them a choice.
A Concerned Citizen.
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