Letter: Balentine misses whole point of 'Death with Dignity'

26

I write in regards to John Balentine’s recent Opinion piece in the June 6 edition, 2019, “Nothing dignified about assisted suicide”

I believe Mr. Balentine entirely misses the point of LD 1313, “Death with Dignity.” As a matter of fact, his column illustrates exactly why LD 1313 is necessary.

Balentine basically states that there is nothing dignified about assisted suicide. The thing is, assisted suicide is a horrible place to come to in one’s life. But the idea is not that the act of assisting someone to die is dignified, although that should be considered a humane thing to do. It’s that we honor those who feel they had no other choice but to end their own lives in this way. Rather than calling them cowards or thinking of them as horrible people we are to honor their lives and give them the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings who found themselves at a terrible crossroads in their lives.

Balentine states: “There is no death with dignity, except when one dies so another can live.” Yikes, that’s a tall order. According to that criteria, most humans are destined to die in an undignified fashion. Again, I think he is missing the entire point of LD 1313.

When one comes to the point where life provides them with no other choice but to live a life far from that which one would wish upon any other person or ending what might seem like daily torture, I believe that person has the right to find a way to end their suffering. What LD 1313 is all about honoring that choice, that incredibly difficult decision. It is not about honoring the act of suicide. It honors the life of the person who came to that horrible place.

Mr. Balentine’s column is the exact opposite of what LD 1313 is all about. His article itself, his lack of empathy for those who come to this horrible place in their lives, is the reason LD 1313 exists.

Chris Newcomb
Gorham