Two of the most notable books published in the U.S. in 2013 "trouble" readers with medical, ethical, moral, emotional, psychological and legal struggles that arise when a loved one is succumbing to insidious pain and irreversible incapacity.
If you're a friend or family member of a hospice patient, you could be facing a murder charge. That's the not-so-subtle message that Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is sending to dying patients and their families.
"Did I ever tell you about the night that Emil died?" my brother Richard asked me. It was 1992, and AIDS had taken Richard's lover a full three years earlier. The death ended a love affair that had lasted more than a decade.
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.