Living the Evangelical life-
The organization known as Final Exit Network has erected 2 billboards; one in their home state of New Jersey and the other in culturally liberal San Francisco, with a third being planned for Florida. The billboards read, “My life, my death, my choice”.
To say that the signs are causing a stir would be an understatement; the message, while patently obvious on several levels, has had a polarizing effect akin to that of Gay and abortion rights. Like abortion, it is a pro-life issue; but more on that tomorrow. You can read the article from the New York Daily News here.
The group’s website makes it clear they wish to be of assistance and service for anyone who may want to end their life. According to their website, “Mentally competent adults have a basic human right to end their lives when they suffer from a fatal or irreversible illness or intractable pain, when their quality of life is personally unacceptable, and the future holds only hopelessness and misery.” Their term for suicide? Self Deliverance.
As a group, they appear to be very liberal in identifying who may benefit from their services. The usual conditions are mentioned: ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Cancer, AIDS; but other diseases that may not have as profound an impact on quality of life are also included. It appears from their site that the only determining factor is, “Do you want to end your life?” Even mental competence can be negotiated.
Because the law requires that the Network must work with a mentally competent adult who is capable of providing the means for self-deliverance and carrying out the act, a person would have to be in the early stages of dementia. We appreciate that there may still be quality of life left at that point but when competence is lost the Network would not be able to provide the information and support necessary for the member to carry out self-deliverance. So it becomes a choice to make in the early stages and not after the disease progresses.
We also realize that the determination of mental competence is not always clear. For example, a person may not remember what they had for breakfast but may still be very clear that they are ready to die. They also have to be competent enough to remember what they were told about how to carry out the act. Because a disease like Alzheimer’s does not follow a straight course, a person may be lucid at one point, not be at the next, then regain lucidity. Because of the cyclical nature of the illness our Exit Guides must remind the member that if competence is lost we cannot continue with the case; we could possibly return if the person regains competence and still has the wish to end his or her life
Tomorrow, on Worldview Wednesday we’ll look at some of highlights of the Right To Die argument.
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