“Right To Die” Coming to Your State?

Ground Picture / shutterstock.com
Ground Picture / shutterstock.com

Currently, Americans in 10 states have the right to physician-assisted suicide. A controversial topic, for sure, liberal strongholds like California, Oregon, the state of Washington, Vermont, and Washington D.C., among others, have welcomed the practice with open arms. First starting with Vermont in 1997, the most recent addition to the list was New Mexico in 2021.

Each state has its own rules and regulations around the subject if they’ve made it legal, and now 19 states want to pass their own renditions in 2024. Coming from all over the US, states like Arizona, Virginia, and Tennessee are some incredibly surprising potential homes for assisted suicide.

Originally given real recognition back in 1990, Dr. Jack Kevorkian popularized the idea of people being able to choose how and when a dignified death could occur. A boy genius in his own right, his ideas were controversial back in the 1950s when he first published them and proved criminal for him with his first hands-on death. Since his conviction, it has become a real hot topic.

A largely controversial issue, proponents like Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) argue based on personal experience. In her case, supranuclear palsy is a terminal and painful condition, one she knows could make an unbearable ending without help.

“There are 1000s of Virginians dealing with terminal illnesses facing unthinkable challenges and choices because of these devastating health conditions. That is why this legislation is so critical. It is a vital step allowing Virginians to gain the dignity, freedom, and peace of mind we deserve in the face of a tragic terminal illness like mine.”

Meanwhile, opponents are largely coming from the Catholic Church. In a statement on February 11th, Bishops Michael Burbidge and Barry Knestout said, “People facing the end of life are in great need and must be accompanied with great care and attentiveness. To address each of their needs and alleviate their suffering, patients deserve high-quality medical, palliative, and hospice care – not suicide drugs.”

Over 23 years, just 5,330 people have gone through with physician-assisted suicide, and 8,451 prescriptions for the service have been written. Suffice it to say, this is an area with very grey legal areas and a huge moral and ethical dilemma. For those who have watched family members suffer in pain for years with no relief, this could be a very welcome future. They know that pain and would not wish it on their worst enemy.