Seriously ill part of larger family

A letter in response to a column by Dr. Macro Terwiel

Editor, The News

Re: Right to choose gaining momentum, The News, Aug. 3.

In yet another article, Dr. Marco Terwiel claims that everyone should have the right to kill themselves or help others kill themselves, if they so choose.  He equates this to a woman’s right to vote, give birth or not, and even to our freedom of speech and religion.

I don’t see a parallel in any of this.

We should only have the right to choose as long as that choice doesn’t interfere with the basic rights of others.

The right to life is the most fundamental right anyone can possess.

Without this right, one becomes property.

Those suffering serious heath issues are members of an extended circle of family and friends.

These people, and the wider community when necessary, should be there to help care for them.  When someone dies, the impact of that death is always far-reaching.  Ask any parent who has lost a child to an accident, drug overdose, or especially to suicide.  I can’t imagine anything harder to endure than losing a loved one to suicide.

There are endless cases of people with serious health issues.

See for example, the difficulties Angel Twedt of Maple Ridge, has to deal with, (The News, Aug. 3). She is there for her family, with the support of the community.

The bottom line is that we do belong to those around us, and our decisions have an impact on many other people.  Sometimes we need to be courageous, like Angel Twedt.

Again, Dr. Terwiel should explore the abuses from doctor-assisted suicide, that have occurred in Holland.  They are documented in the medical journal The Lancet.

We in Canada have access to state-of-the-art hospice care and pain management.

We already have the right to refuse extraordinary medical interventions such as ventilators, once death is inevitable.

No one needs to be kept alive artificially, when there is no hope for recovery, under existing Canadian law.

Suicide is not a courageous choice.

Richard Whalen

Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge News