A Grave Decision for Californians!

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Oct. 5, 2015
  • Joni's Posts, In the Media

A Grave Decision for Californians!Today, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a dangerous bill making CA the fourth state to legalize assisted suicide. Gov. Brown said he signed the bill because he wouldn't want to be "dying in prolonged and excruciating pain" in his final days — regardless of the fact that pain relief is readily available without killing patients. But the truth is pain is not among the top reasons for why people choose assisted suicide.[1] Instead, they are psychological issues which can be effectively treated. When I broke my neck and doctors told me I would never again have use of my hands or legs, I sank into suicidal despair. But looking back, my problem was never my spinal cord injury: my problem was clinical depression that later lifted through the support of family and Christian friends. Besides, who is to say when quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or ALS is classified as "terminal”? There are tremendous risks to this new law, including suicide contagion, elder and disability abuse, and the inevitable expanse to broader groups of people to reduce their choice. So rather than making it the state's responsibility to help despairing people kill themselves, let's pour more effort into improving pain management therapies and strengthening the hospice movement. Let's lift people out of depression through compassionate care. Because after all, we must do all we can to protect, defend, and preserve every life — especially those with disabilities (Isaiah 1:17).

[1]United Spinal Association, October 5, 2015: Alexandra Bennewith, vice president, letter to Governor Brown


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assisted suicide is only for those who are mentally competent, and are able to make such a decision on their own without an underline mental illness like depression. However, such a law can be abused and has been abused by medical practitioners and family members in other countries. The right to die and the right to live is a two way street that needs to be respected. No one can predict or choose a death or quality of life for an individual. However, if a person is treated with the best medical care, dignity, and hope--given a sense of purpose---and they still choose death then it is their choice. A choice I wouldn't like to see happen, but never-the-less it is their choice. But again having a law allowing suicide is opening Pandora's box with possible abuse to the elderly and disabled. Why not write a Living Will that covers a person's choice in grave medical circumstances so family don't have to make hard decisions.
  • Oct. 10, 2015
  • 12:36 p.m.
  • alison raborn
thank you Joni for expressing what I want to say in such an eloquent way. As a sufferer of MS I have often felt suicidal but have then been lifted out of my depression to enjoy the life God gave me. What a waste it would have been to cut my life short and deprive my family of my love & prayers.
  • Oct. 6, 2015
  • 5:42 a.m.
  • Brenda Leake
I was a hospice nurse. I am an Rn. There is no such thing is compassionate care.... My brother was tortured with painful seizures, they would not give him something for the seizures because his heart will stop and his wife did not want his heart to stop,
  • Oct. 5, 2015
  • 10:42 p.m.
  • Katherine Graham
Thank you Mr. Brown for this wonderful decision, my brother was tortured for 8 days on life support and his wife refused to let him rest in peace, because he did not leave her a will...
  • Oct. 5, 2015
  • 10:36 p.m.
  • Katherine Graham
The article is fine, the byline, well - some might find it a little awkward, in my opinion....
  • Oct. 5, 2015
  • 5:09 p.m.
  • Frank