Last Wednesday, March 20, the Connecticut Assembly's Public Health Committee began its consideration of a bill modeled after Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. My heart swelled as I sat with them and heard the witness of these decent, altruistic, dedicated people.
If "the people" does not, and cannot, mean all people, and if the Founders did not further specify which people -- then that is a question we are obligated to ask and answer. Which people? And, similarly, what arms?
The states have the power to allow and regulate assisted suicide or to prohibit it, and with enough pressure from critical thinkers we will someday have the freedom to end our lives with dignity. If enough critical thinkers band together, someday we'll be able to live and die on our own terms.
People of conscience weigh key moral issues. They study and struggle with the questions at hand. They engage in a lifetime effort to develop the fine-tuned moral sensitivity needed to understand deeply Church teaching on critical issues.
Eighteen years ago, Dr. Peter Goodwin led the fight to grant Oregonians the right to end-of-life choice. Terminally ill with a rare, fatal brain disease with no known cure, Peter exercised the right to a peaceful death he helped secure.
The dictionary defines suicide as "the act of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally." The intent was clear in both cases. Both John and Mary wanted to end their lives as quickly as possible. Why did the method matter?