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Do not make the same mistake as others

I was alarmed to see Mario Garrett’s article advocating for suicide by ‘exit bag’, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, (The Sunday Times of Malta, July 31).

I am a lawyer in Washington State, US, where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal. I hope that Malta does not make Washington’s mistake.

Washington’s law is based on a similar law in our neighbouring state of Oregon. Both laws were passed by ballot measures in which voters were promised that ‘only’ the patient would be allowed to administer the lethal dose.  There is, however, no such requirement.

There is also no requirement that people be ‘dying’. The Oregon and Washington laws instead apply to people predicted to have less than six months to live.  Such people may, in fact, have years to live.

Consider my friend, Jeanette Hall, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and adamant that she would use Oregon’s law.  Her doctor convinced her to be treated instead. Today, 16 years later, she is thrilled to be alive.

As for the ‘exit bag’, Prof. Garrett mentions the notoriety of his former neighbour, Sharlotte Hydorn, who made her living selling this product. He leaves out the particular cause of her notoriety, that one of her users was a depressed 29-year-old man who happened to be the son of a federal judge. The man’s brother put it this way: “For $60, they blew his life apart. It breaks my heart.”

To learn more about problems with legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia, please see www.choiceillusion.org

I am president of Choice is an Illusion, a non-profit corporation.

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