Hospital bed

Nicholas Goldberg’s July 22 op-ed “End of life act works, deserves expansion” promotes physician-assisted suicide.

Goldberg writes, “Alzheimer’s patients and others facing dementia seem like an obvious place to start…”

The inestimably precious value of human beings has been cheapened by utilitarian attitudes that human lives are of no intrinsic value and may be ended at will if a vulnerable person is deemed to be a burden on others or have a diminished quality of life.

In states that have legalized assisted suicide, the poor, marginalized and elderly are now exposed to lethal new risks of coercion and abuse.

Those suffering from untreated, but treatable, depression, or from badly managed, but manageable, pain, feel increased pressure to take the path of least resistance — self-administration of lethal drugs.

The aged are at-risk of a new form of elder abuse.

The financially disadvantaged, whose insurers may now weigh the low cost of assisted suicide against more expensive palliative treatments, are at greater risk.

Persons with disabilities feel the pressure from others who consider their lives not worth living, and not worth saving.

In countries like the Netherlands and Belgium, assisted suicide quickly gave way to euthanasia — first voluntary, then non-voluntary — in the name of compassion.

Pressuring the sick, frail and vulnerable to feel marginalized, unwanted or burdensome, sends the not-so-subtle message that — as former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm once appallingly put it — they have a “duty to die and get out of the way.”

Tony Lauinger, Tulsa

Editor's Note: Gov. Richard Lamm in a speech in 1984 said, "We've got a duty to die and get out of the way with all of our machines and artificial hearts and everything else like that and let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life."

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