Death with dignity

Last breaths can be the most painful inhalations of one’s life, and very few have the choice of when they can take that breath. The last few breaths of a patient’s life could be quicker for the ones in too much pain. But only in four states.

The Death with Dignity National Center (DDNC) is a political fund giving forward to terminally ill patients the option of “assisted suicide.” The center gives the patient the choice of when and where they want to move on from their body.

The Oregon, Washington and Vermont Death with Dignity laws allow mentally competent, terminally-ill adult state residents to voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication so they can die in a peaceful, humane manner in a place and time of their choosing,” the Death with Dignity National Center published on its website.

The physician assisting the patient in ending one’s life has to ensure the patient asking for medication is in a stable state of mind, and has thought about the choice they are making.

“If this choice is because of a disease or too much pain, that makes sense,” junior Autumn Shingledecker said. “But it’s not something that should be taken lightly.”

While some people support the idea, only four states enforce the laws. Washington, Oregon, California and Vermont are the states that deem death by physician laws legal, according to the DDNC.

Michigan currently has no legislative activity surrounding the Death with Dignity laws, even though Doctor Jack Kevorkian, a euthanasia activist, who resided in Michigan, tried to get the physician-assisted suicide bill passed after he got out of prison for assisting people with their endeavors of suicide. When put on the ballot, Proposal B, or the suicide by physician bill had a 71 percent negative feedback from Michigan voters in 1998.

“There should be rules that you have to be sick for an amount of time before you give up,” junior Alex Knipple said. “It is a good idea for people who have cancer and are in pain, and they have tried everything.”