May 05, 1999
The two men had come with other Latinos from Texas to work in a Missouri meat-packing plant. They had once worked the fields, and had experienced all kinds of employers and working conditions. But their Missouri experience left them in disbelief.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been through a quarter century of disagreement and division over homosexuality. In the past several years, the church has engaged in wrenching debates over amendments to its Book of Order, the legislative portion of the church's constitution.
A 43-year-old Oregon man is progressively paralyzed by the advance of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Cared for by a hospice and his family in his travel trailer, the man requests a lethal dose of medication so that he can end his life. A physician, acting under the state's Death with Dignity law, prescribes a sufficient supply of barbiturates. The man uses a straw to mix the barbiturates with a chocolate nutrition drink.
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.