Our General Assembly, despite its very conservative makeup, seems determined to get involved with our personal lives despite all the claptrap about individual freedom. Recently the Georgia Supreme Court overturned a law that made it a crime to advertize any form of assisted suicide. The court did not rule that that the state couldn’t ban assisted suicide, only that the statute was too broad and unclear. Now some in the state capitol want to correct this and tighten up the language so that assisted suicide could send medical practitioners and others to prison. It makes sense to me that if the General Assembly passes this law, they should also make it illegal for someone to sell products like tobacco, and foods that lack any basic nutritional value since arguably they are a slow method of assisted suicide.
The state of Oregon passed an assisted suicide law in 1997. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the statute in a 6-3 decision in which three conservative justices dissented: Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. The majority ruled that the Oregon law trumped federal authority to regulate doctors. I strongly believe that an individual has the right to decide for himself when life has reached the end stage, when the best medical advice says that the sands of time have run out, and that the remaining days will be painful with no “quality of life” as the individual defines that term. There are any number of reasons why the individual might need help to carry out this last wish, and with proper safeguards, the state should butt out. If someone has personal or religious objections that supersede any form of suicide, to include withdrawing all sustenance, I respect that. I think that others who don’t share that world view are also entitled to make these decisions with the input of their family, doctors, friends, and trusted advisers. It is unconscionable for legislators to think that their judgment is superior, is somehow on a higher moral plane and worthy of supplanting our individual freedom. One can only imagine with such a law in place the number of investigations that will take place to determine if a doctor or other medical practitioner surreptitiously violated the law. I bet it would really attract doctors to come to Georgia to set up practice.
What I have written is not intended to be some abstract; I have had personal experiences with both my parents that have given me a real live perspective on this topic. The less the General Assembly gets involved in my personal life, the better.