Letter to the Editor

Death with dignity explained

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

An interesting interpretation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution has come forth from Bill Kerstring: Please read the First Amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Nowhere does it guarantee the right to life, or say that to subvert life by any means is unconstitutional.

In fact, what it does say, is that laws intended to enforce religious beliefs are not to be enacted, as they violate the First Amendment. Further, congressional action to block legislation (as Sen. Johnson is doing) that is intended to protect our citizens from religion based governmental positions is, in fact, an abuse of the First Amendment as well. This principle has been validated by the writings of President Thomas Jefferson in his statement of "separation of church and state."

The idea that "death with dignity " should be seen as a matter of convenience or preference seems beyond belief. It is a certainty that we are all going to die one day. The idea that there is some mystical God pleasing nobility to a slow and painful death, while you put your family through the agony of watching the suffering and indignity of a human body being destroyed by an incurable malady, is a cruel deception. The Oregon model, as written, states that it only applies to a person with a limited medically projected life span, is suffering extensive pain or loss of quality of life and must be of sound mind enough to request a lethal prescription from a practicing doctor, once verbally, and once in writing, and be physically able to administer the fatal dose him(her)self.

The decision to die with dignity is never an easy decision to make. When continuing life becomes impossible, it should not require starving yourself to death or jumping out a window.

Robert Sneitzer

Spirit Lake