Monday, January 31, 2005


Warning: don't read this post if you have not seen Million Dollar Baby. By the way, if you haven't seen it, go see it. It's wonderful. (Also, go see Hotel Rwanda. It will move you, disgust you, and ultimately scare you.)

So, just as I had expected when I saw the movie, people are protesting the last half of Million Dollar Baby. Can it be any more predictable that those against euthanasia/assisted suicide take a prominent film and attack it? Personally, I thought that the film presented such a strong argument for assisted suicide that groups and individuals opposed to it should speak up.

My personal stance on assisted suicide, if you haven't figured it out yet, is that if a person is mentally competent to decide that they want to die, but physically incapable to do so, they should be granted their wish in as humane a manner as possible. Of course, this is one of the longest standing debates in our country's history. Also, it's especially relevant to myself because I'm a future physician. I even wrote on it as part of my Foreign Service Officer exam. Needless to say, I failed that time (but passed my second time!).

I understand the religious arguments against it and if you are religious, then it's hard to compromise the two (but not impossible). However, on a human level, how can you watch someone suffer for months or years on end? I have seen several people, patients and friends, suffer from terminal illnesses. After seeing their faces and their despair, I see the human argument for assisted suicide. I challenge anyone who disagrees with me to defend their side after they have seen a loved one suffer from a terminal illness without the ability to die with dignity.

A lot of people will disagree with me, and I welcome their disagreement. This is a debate that will not be settled anytime soon and will probably be increasingly controversial as medical technology is able to keep people alive longer without an improving their quality of life.

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