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Letters to the Editor

Nov. 4, 1999

House made correct decision against euthanasia

On Oct. 27, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it a Federal crime for doctors to make prescriptions that would end the lives of terminally ill patients.

This bill was in response to an Oregon law that allowed for assisted suicide. The bill passed 271-156. Only 271 members supported this bill.

What bothers me is the fact that even 156 representatives were in opposition. I am fully aware that today's age is concerned with individual rights. Americans want freedom. That was why this country was founded, is it not?

People feel that if a person's life is so miserable and that if he wants to end it, then he or she should have the freedom to do so.

In a sense, I can see why people are upset that this bill was passed. They do not like to see the government play the role of big brother, or in other words, an institution that dictates what choices people will make. Maybe the government is at fault for its involvement. Maybe the government is infringing on its citizens' freedom.

But which is a bigger offense: a government that plays the role of big brother, or doctors that play the role of God?

I do not have much faith in the government to make the wisest decisions, but I am glad to see that some of our representatives are still motivated by the idea of a higher law, a law that governs us all, regardless of our imperfections.

In essence, we are governed by a law that transcends our desires and beliefs about equality and freedom and represents our God-given responsibilities as human beings. No matter the justification, taking the life of a person in such a manner is wrong and should be deemed unacceptable.

If we allow euthanasia or assisted suicide, where is the line drawn? How old does a person have to be for a doctor to provide a fatal injection? How much pain do patients have to be in to be considered viable candidates for death? How disabled do they have to be?

Americans must be careful not to cheapen the value of life. If we are not careful, our standards will deteriorate as we continue to justify what we know is wrong. We will wake up one morning and realize that in our fight for freedom and equality, we killed the very idea that we were trying to promote.

Our society is in a sad state if we allow ourselves to rationalize for the extinction of what should be held so dear.

For now, I am glad to see that the majority of our representatives stand for what is morally right, but fear the day when this attitude is no longer held.

Erich S. Ludwig

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