Dying well: A challenge to Christian compassion
The fear of enduring unceasing pain, of being trapped by medical machines, of losing bodily integrity and personal dignity and of being an emotional and financial drain on one's loved ones--such fear lends strength to the movement for euthanasia and for physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Support for euthanasia/PAS has been spurred on by the Hemlock Society, founded by former journalist Derek Humphry and based in Eugene, Oregon. The society's political arm helped draft initiatives aimed at legalizing euthanasia. Ballot initiatives in the states of Washington (1991) and California (1992) were both narrowly defeated by a 54 to 46 percent margin. The defeat of these "euthanasia" initiatives shifted the focus to "assisted suicide," which gives more control to the dying patient.
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