Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oregon assisted suicide ruling.

The Supreme Court today, in a ruling that reversed a previous set of rulings that moved the court away from Federalism and towards the Federal government, voted 6-3 to uphold a ninth Circuit Court ruling that supports Oregon's law on physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. The vote was also the first test of John Roberts, and he voted much as many liberals suspected he would, joining Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia among the dissenters.

There are three reasons why this ruling is a good thing. The first is the most fundamental reason. We euthanize animals when they are in pain and have no hope of recovery. Why we should force people to suffer in a similar situation is mind-boggling and sadistic.

The second reason is because of our healthcare system, which forces people to pay for expensive treatment they may not want. I've always thought that it was hypocritical of some on the right to object, as they do, to inheritance taxes (they prefer to call it a 'death tax,') in which a portion of an estate is taxed and used by the government to benefit society as a whole, but they have no problem with the idea that a terminally ill person can be 'kept alive until broke,' so that the hospital ends up with their whole estate. We need universal healthcare, but lacking that, we at least need a way that people have a choice in this situation.

The third reason is because it makes it clear that the decision of when to end life is in the purview of the terminally ill patients, in consultation with their families and their doctors. The Oregon law essentially only allows that to happen, but does not force anyone to choose death (in contrast to the misleading and outright false rhetoric of some on the right.) The fact is, that this is not the state's business, and it shouldn't be the state's business.


Lily said...

Good points, and I had not considered the taxation one before.
You've been writing well despite your busy life- admirable.
Wish I could be in Flagstaff- its freezing here in the North.

Eli Blake said...

Hey, we always need more progressive in this red-starting-to-turn purple state. And here in the high desert, it was sunny and warm again today.

Anonymous said...

Tempting! I'm moving shortly but just to another county. Still cold.
I wanted to thank you for your comments these past few post cycles- I learn alot from your feedback and participation. Thats really what its about for me, despite the penchance for snark and juvenilia that pervades my bloggery. (thats just to lighten things up, its not a paid gig after all, for most of us saps!)
I learn so much by just tossing out ideas, and enjoy the fact that these ideas are interactive. Thanks

Anonymous said...

...when they are in pain and have no hope of recovery. Why we should force people to suffer in a similar situation is mind-boggling and sadistic.

Eli, thank you for your words on this subject.

People should be allowed to have "Death with dignity."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that was me at 14:34.

Blogger having hiccups, I think

Anonymous said...

Just checking in- making the rounds, seeing whats being discussed out here!