State Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake has proposed that Utah follow the example of six other states and legalize assisted suicide (HB76 End of Life Options Act). Each of those states requires that the patient be of sound mind and have less than six months to live. Proponents say that individuals should have more control over decisions about quality of life and the timing of the end of life.
Assisted suicide is opposed by churches (including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), citing their belief in the sanctity of life; and disability rights groups, which “fear that as society comes to see loss of ‘dignity’ and ‘autonomy’ — the very physical conditions that often define their own worthwhile lives — as rationales for assisted suicide, that the perceived social value of a disabled life will erode.” (Deseret News)
On the other end of the spectrum, Holland and Belgium “have dramatically liberalized eligibility for assisted suicide to include not just dementia, but also people with anorexia, the severely depressed, alcoholics and others.” (Deseret News)
What do you think? Who should make these critical end-of-life decisions? Where do you draw the line? Have you had a family member or friend who had to wrestle with these kinds of decisions?
Join us for Wednesday’s Access Utah when our guests will include Rep. Chavez-Houck; University of Utah medical ethicist Dr. Margaret Battin and Dr. Elizabeth Pollack; Rep. Dr. Ed Redd R-North Logan; and John Kelly from the disability rights group Not Dead Yet.