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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Assisted suicide

Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times

About 50 people protest outside the University of Washington Medical Center on the first day of the “Death with Dignity” law in March.

It should remain a choice

Editor, The Times:

I read with great interest the article by Sandi Doughton on assisted suicide [“Choosing when to die was ‘truly what she wanted to do,’ ” page one, May 23]. As I finished the article I was filled with both anger and elation at the same time.

I have always been an advocate of the “Death with Dignity” law, and even more so after I saw my mother die from excruciating pain as cancer took over her body. No amount of morphine could eradicate her suffering and pain.

I took great umbrage with Chris Carlson’s comments. To call Linda Fleming “egotistical” goes beyond the pale. His arrogance is self-serving and self-righteous. The issue is very simple: If he is against assisted suicide, then he need not participate. It should remain a choice.

His comment, “The vast majority of us accept the natural conclusions of our lives,” is not a reality. Medical treatments and interventions are not natural. If the vast majority accept the natural conclusion of life, the law would not have passed.

I can find nothing in the Bible for or against suicide.

My new heroine is Linda Fleming.

— Joan Smallwood, Seattle

A slippery slope of devaluing life

Much of any of our lives could be construed as a “waste of money,” or even time and oxygen.

Who should decide what we are worth at any given moment? Whether it be through malice, best of intentions or unwitting signals, when society gives permission for us to remove ourselves from the world, we begin to devalue our own and others’ lives.

And so begins the slippery slope of legalized assisted suicide.

— Polly Terman, Edmonds

Let others live in peace and privacy

I was appalled to read Chris Carlson’s comments on Linda Fleming’s choice of a lucid, painless death. A “sad day,” he called it. What was it going to be after a few more months of pain and debility, when she died in a drugged haze that would have compromised her spiritual passage — a happy day? Just because that was his idea of how she should die?

He called her choosing the time and manner of her own death “egotistical” because, well, most people don’t do that. Apparently, his objection to her most intensely personal choice rests on nothing more than his preference for mere conformity. How egotistical is that?

Carlson and his ilk infuriate me — what is it with these opponents of this and that who simply cannot let other people live their lives in peace and privacy?

— John Boehrer, Seattle

Better option is to pray for peace

I do not know how God will judge a person who commits suicide. A better option, I believe, is to pray to God for a peaceful death.

God will hear your prayer and answer it. Then you will have the chance to die with dignity without committing suicide.

— Mike Marley, Seattle

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