Now is certainly the time for all compassionate Arizonans, and particularly our progressive Jewish community, to speak out and lobby local and state lawmakers to pass Death With Dignity legislation.
Do not confuse this with assisted suicide or euthanasia, because in appropriate legislation a competent, severely ill person judged to have a very short time in which to live will be assisted in obtaining the means for a quick, painless and merciful death to be self-administered before unbearable suffering. This is a blessing for both the person’s loved ones and for the medical establishment. Our community, and indeed the world, does not need precious resources expended in a hopeless situation against the wishes of the recipient of those resources.
There are several groups serving the greater Tucson area that are working for Death with Dignity (including the national group of the same name, as well as Compassion and Choices, Final Exit and other smaller groups working to educate). These groups have been successful enacting laws in New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and Oregon. Oregon law has been in effect for 18 years without demonstrated abuse from its population or outsiders. All these groups have websites so that honest information is available. But without the power of the people here in Arizona, we face a legislature that has not proven itself to be humanistic and progressive.
So people, if you see the humanity in easing suffering, let your voices be heard. Contact your representatives by phone, email, etc. Write letters to them, to the media and speak with your physicians to support this. Let your life be in your hands. That is true freedom.
— Freyda Zell, Ph.D.