Originally created 10/10/05

Let the terminally ill die with dignity

The Bush administration has brought Oregon to the Supreme Court over its "death with dignity" law. The suit claims that doctors who prescribe the lethal drugs are in violation of federal drug laws, and should lose their prescribing rights.

Punishing the doctors, a legal ploy, is not the point at all. The point clearly is to stop terminally ill patients from a peaceful death under one's own terms, presumably because it infringes on the role of God.

Some readers and Mr. Bush may believe we have no right to set our own day of death, and they can behave accordingly. However, those of this opinion have no right to impose by law their religious view on those who believe otherwise.

Humane doctors of veterinary medicine often are complicit in ending the life of a terminally sick pet. Why is it humane to do this, but not to end a terminally ill human life? The answer again is religious belief, which must not be the basis for laws applying to everyone.

There may be no connection, but the Bush administration has also of late been targeting doctors who specialize in controlling severe pain, for abusing their rights to prescribe these drugs. It is unconscionable to try to outlaw the use of a lethal cocktail to die without pain and at peace, while on the other hand intimidating doctors who are trying their best to control end-of-life pain.

Victor Reilly

Aiken S.C.


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