In "Your Death Should Be Your Choice" (Commentary, March 9), Crispin Sartwell writes, "On the cross, Jesus begs for that release and is granted death." I haven't set foot in a church for years and have no plans of doing so anytime soon. And even I know that's a pile of crock! Moreover, why does it seem that for liberals, "choice" always involves killing something?
In his piece, Sartwell clearly and concisely defines the issue of the right-to-die movement. For many years, how long a person and his loved ones wish to fend off the ravages of disease and allow the inevitable death to occur has often been a choice between them and their physicians.
The proposed California Compassionate Choices bill acknowledges this fact and offers the person and their loved ones the readily accessible means to legally effect this decision. The law, offered by Assembly members Patty Berg and Lloyd Levine, mirrors the Oregon Death With Dignity law that has given the residents of that state the peace of mind that, if they ever need it, they can find a physician who will help.
William LeBoeuf MD
Sartwell goes to great lengths to defend the choice of one's right to die. Though I could poke many holes in his arguments, he alone made my case in his last paragraph probably without realizing it. By stating that even Jesus, while on the cross, begs for and is granted death, Sartwell delivers the Christian worldview that only God should make that decision. I couldn't agree with him more.
Furthermore, what would Sartwell's position be on who should make the "choice" about life in the womb.
We can't ask the unborn, but I think God is clear on that issue too.
Sartwell's claim that Christianity "wants to impose its will to keep you alive at all costs" is completely wrong. Someone who is dying can legitimately refuse extraordinary treatment if it will not prolong his life or lead to improvement. This certainly includes medicines or medical procedures.
What this does not include is food or water, as these are basic needs for all humans. Refusing food or water results in the killing of someone by starvation, as is currently being attempted with Terri Schiavo in Florida. There is a big difference between allowing nature to take its course and actually taking steps to kill someone, and Schiavo's case is clearly a case of the latter.
The right to die sounds all well and good, but after it happens you lose your right to change your mind.
Robert H. Williams