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Death With Dignity Passes in WA November 24, 2008

Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Current Events, Ethics, Nina Rosenstand's Posts.

With the nation’s, and world’s, attention turning to the upcoming administration, the fate of Prop 8, and our financial crisis, an important milestone has been overlooked by the MSM: the passing of the Death With Dignity proposition in the state of Washington. Oregon is no longer the only state in the Union with a physician-assisted suicide option. The passing of this proposition is, for the supporters of Death With Dignity, a hugely important step toward recognizing the sovereignty of the individual.

“The people of Washington opted for individual liberty, personal autonomy and freedom of conscience,” said Barbara Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, in a statement posted on the C&C website. Lee pledged to continue working “to bring choice to terminal patients in the 48 states where aid in dying remains illegal.”

As anyone who has followed the euthanasia debate is well aware of, the issue is a little bit more complex than that—because any system that allows for some form of “hastening of death” also has to have safeguards in place to ensure that the person whose death is being “hastened” is in agreement as a competent adult, without further emotional or financial pressures being brought to bear. And of course the debate heats up further once we begin to talk about the question of “playing God.”  California voters rejected a similar proposition in 1992. If you want to read more about the debate, the link above will link you to further interesting websites.



1. Paul Moloney - November 27, 2008

It seems that there can be a logical aspect to the thought of suicide, even if it is an incidental aspect. This aspect concerns the definite and the indefinite. At one time I was out of work for eleven months. My chances of finding a job were indefinite. How long it would take to find a job was indefinite. I wanted to have something definite, or at least know something definite. The thought comes to mind that suicide is definite, though I have never seriously contemplated suicide. If one wants something definite, suicide is as definite as death. Even though death is definite, it is not definite what happens to us after death, if anything. Some hold the premise that all suffering ends at death, but we do not know that definitely until we die.

Another reason that I have never contemplated suicide is that I cannot stand the thought of hurting myself. It does not make sense to me to hurt myself in order to stop my suffering, even though there are supposedly painless ways to die.

In discussions about suicide it seems we never hear about those that drive others to suicide by trying to make their lives not worth living. Some want to escape the mental anguish imposed on them by others.

Being Thanksgiving Day it is a good opportunity for me to express my thanks to the State of California and the Salvation Army. The State of California helped me to get through my unemployment. At Christmas time the Salvation Army gave me and my family a food voucher and some simple toys for my children, even though we were just a name given to them by the State of California. It is amazing to me that some people can be kind to complete strangers. I found a job a few days before Christmas, which may have been the best Christmas present I ever had. I got the job, thankfully, with the help of a gal, a lesbian, that worked for the company. That job lasted about twenty years. It proves to me that, strangers or not, we are all in this together. If we are anti-anyone we are against the very people that would help us in need.

2. Paul Moloney - December 3, 2008

It is seemingly coincidental, but the rainy weather in Oregon and Washington is said to have a psychologically depressing effect on some people there. On the other hand, it is merely coincidental that the Mediterranean weather had any influence on the greatness of the Greek philosophers because we have Mediterranean weather here but no great Greek philosophers.

3. Nina Rosenstand - December 3, 2008

Kudos to you for upholding our Thanksgiving blog tradition of talking about gratitude! And I think we do have a couple of great American philosophers here in the Southland–we may even have a few great Geek philosophers …

4. Paul Moloney - December 4, 2008

My expression of thanks was somewhat accidental. I did not have a chance to make a comment until Thanksgiving Day. One thought led to another. I remembered how last year Dwight gave some reasoned thoughts about being thankful, so it did not seem inappropriate for me to do so on Thanksgiving Day.

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