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July 20th, 2010
07:20 AM ET

UPDATE: Your life, your choice, your death?

A billboard in New Jersey is breathing new life into the right to die debate.

The billboard reads, "My Life. My Death. My Choice." It also displays the web address for Final Exit Network, which is a private, non-profit organization that supports the idea that people suffering what it terms "intolerable medical circumstances" be able to end their lives.

Final Exit Network's billboard is intended for terminally ill patients, but many people are concerned that young adults who see the billboard will see it as a suicide endorsement.

The Catholic Church is also speaking out against the ad. The Newark, New Jersey's Archdiocese message spokesman Jim Goodness says it's "completely incompatible with Catholic teaching."


This morning at 10:30am ET, Kyra will go deeper into the debate with attorney and Executive Director of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Rita Marker and Final Exit Vice President Bob Levine.

Watch the CNN Newsroom with Kyra and us know what you think of the right to die debate. Kyra will read some comments during the 10am ET hour of the CNN Newsroom.

Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips • What the...?
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    Just pull the plug why prolong the situation..I'm Catholic what a crock!

    July 20, 2010 at 7:37 am |
  2. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    You can only shield young adults from there own stupidity for so long sooner or later you have to set them free to reality .

    July 20, 2010 at 7:47 am |
  3. Stephen Drake

    I certainly hope that Rita Marker is able to bring some accuracy to your coverage. According to Final Exit Network's own website, it has *never* limited its "help" to people who are terminally ill. In fact, members are facing charges in Georgia over their role in the death of a man who was *successfully* treated for cancer, and was found to be free of the disease when autopsied. In Arizona, members are facing criminal charges for their "help" in the death of a woman with no serious health issues, but who had a history of emotional problems. Two members of the group have entered into plea bargains in that state and agreed to testify against the others.

    Everything here is available publicly through mainstream news sources – the information should be part of any debate involving the Final Exit Network.

    July 20, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  4. JayneKeatts

    Yes, there should be a choice. There are millions of people lying in beds with no hope of getting better, just waiting until there body can give up.
    What is the point of that? And the $$ spent on healthcare for those people would help us get out of debt. I would not keep a pet alive for no reason, why do we do that to our loved ones.

    July 20, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  5. Jean, Toronto

    @ Stephen Drake: Typical example. People are wrongly diagnosed and the plug was pulled on them, sending their souls prematurely to eternity and eternal judgment where there is no coming back. Mistakes do happen but there is no excuse to misdiagnose patients and where their health and lives are concerned.
    I just heard on local TV that a woman was misdiagnosed and was operated on while the person who has the illness was not operated on and has to wait for the operation. It appears that names and/or files were switched. Throughout the years, this occurred too many times.
    Doctors are supposed to be well-learned and experienced that they should never make such a grave error. This is why it is stated to have a second medical opinion, if not three or four so as to avoid this negligence and a fatal error! Those people should be imprisoned and also should pay an exorbitant sum of money.
    This is another reason why terminally ill people should be left to die naturally. Note what happened to Gary Coleman. Soon after he lapsed into a coma, the plug was pulled on him. He was not given an opportunity in the event that he would be revived. I will say it and say it again, over and over again, miracles do happen and will always happen. God governs all and God is in control, not humanity. There is much more I would like to state about that.
    This Blog, CNN Newsroom, Kyra, which I write on does not want to hear positive words against those who assist others to die and those who want to assist others to die. It is as if FEN paid them to run their information and advertisement.
    It is totally wrong to play God and pull the plug on terminally-ill patients and to encourage others to die because they are ill.
    We are the world and we are the children/adults of the world. It is our business to denounce such an advertisement which does nobody any good both in this life and in eternity. Put on your thinking cap and think again and see the error of those who encourage others to die!

    July 20, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  6. Amanda C from Texas

    My mother recently committed suicide and if there was anything I could have done to stop it I would have. This sign is a slap in the face to anyone who has suffered from losing a loved one to suicide and I don't feel it's appropriate. I'm all for free speech, but encouraging someone to end their life as opposed to finding help is just as bad as killing them yourselves.

    July 20, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  7. Nicole

    The slogan on the billboard is wrong. What people don't realize is that none of our lives are our own. It additionally belongs to mom, dad, sis, bro... you get the idea. As a suicide victim, I learned that the hard way. Death hurts and suicide emotionally kills everyone. 🙁

    July 20, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  8. jeff

    I should be able to end my life when I choose, especially at the end of my life when I may be very ill and in pain. It bothers me that people who believe in imaginary beings who they they think dictate that it is a sin to take your own life can control the fates of millions who do not share such beliefs.

    July 20, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  9. Thom

    if anything, i'm disturbed by the comments that worry about exposure of 'death' to our children. we all die. why can't we trust our children to see death as a good closure that everyone must meet someday?

    July 20, 2010 at 9:00 am |

    Definitely not the best billboard to have posted up! There are people out there who are deathly ill, sick and those at war who want to live. They will give anything for a chance at life. Then for someone to just broadcast that its okay to kill themselves, we'll help you is disgusting. What happen to morals and fearing God because he is the only one who is to decide when are time is up.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  11. Patrick

    It's incredible to me that people think someone in so much pain they want to die doesn't have the right to do so. They're obligated to live, to endure unfathomable pain because someone else is uncomfortable with the idea of suicide or has some ludicrous idea of morality. Assisted suicide is very simply, compassionate.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  12. M. Allen

    Shame on New Jersey for not considering the feelings of all of us. Print it bi-lingual.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  13. Victoria

    When we didn't choose to have a life. So how can we be the ones responsible for taking it away?

    July 20, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  14. kate

    If anyone fi\ds thisbillboard offensive and immoral for their children to read then it could be an opportunity to explain/teach their beliefs.

    I personally do not find it offensive, I think we should have that choice, to me it is not logical or moral to keep someone alive by machines.It is hard to let someone go but I have never heard 1 person say they want to be kept alive by a machine......That is not quality of life. Sometimes I think it is done because the person having to make that decision can not make that decision for whatever reason. Not because they believe that is what the person whose body is functioning only due to a machine wants but because of their own guilt etc.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  15. Rick in Florida

    When it is time for our pets to go we "heartbreakingly" put them to sleep so the will not suffer. We do this out of love and kindness and with reluctance and tears. Our human loved ones are subjected to horrible, painful, heartbreaking, long-suffering deaths because of "right" minded people who are willing to allow those we care about most to suffer needlessly in agony because of their feelings, not necessarily the feelings of the one who is suffering. Where is the morality in that? Why do so many people think they know what's right for others?

    July 20, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  16. Anthony Hahn

    I don't agree with most of your viewers, and I wont apologize. I wish anyone of those people who condemn this could live in a terminal condition, knowing that your dying, and nothing can be done, except keep medicating. The problem is that some people want more than to be in a drugged up stupor. Its not a moral issue, regardless people might say, the only moral issue is making someone suffer and live through prolonged agony for no reason. Hold the hand of someone suffering in agonizing pain and tell them, sorry, you cannot die, and you cannot have any more pain meds cause you might get addicted, their dying, let them go if they choose. my life is not your choice.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  17. Ed

    This is a bad message. I think the people behind this idea are so desperate due to economic turmoil. Therefore, the Government should also get involve with this issue..

    July 20, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  18. carolloving


    as the mother of dr. kevorkian's youngest patient & author of My Son, My Sorrow, I have first hand experience and knowledge about medically assisted death for those in need of the service.

    i do not believe in the goals of the Final Exit Organization, as I think it is appalling for promote the idea of putting a bag over the head of a terminally ill individual, in order to end the suffering.

    there is nothing wrong with the billboard that includes 4 words: my, life, death, choice. nothing offensive there. To me, what is offensive is the fact that a medically assisted death is constantly referred to as "assisted suicide."

    a dying person is DYING, not suiciding . . .

    July 20, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  19. Stephen Drake

    Dear Rick in Florida,

    I get really tired of hearing this sentimental crap about how kindly we treat our pets. CNN doesn't allow links in comments (apparently), but the statistics paint a different picture. Most pets are put down because they have a problem to expensive to treat, or are peeing on the rug, develop unpleasant behaviors, etc. And that's just the ones who get euthanized by owners who take them to the vet to get put down. More and more pets are being simply abandoned to shelters where they are put down if they are too old or the shelter is too crowded.

    It's only a small fraction of pets that get killed because they have a painful, untreatable and incurable illness. But we get to tell others and ourselves that we did it for *their* good instead of doing it to suit our own needs.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  20. Karen

    Isn't assisting suicide illegal? You wouldn't post how to get illegal drugs on a billboard would you? Obviously this group has never had a family member try to commit suicide and had to deal with the hell that it puts the family through. You can go to the internet and find different ways to kill yourself which is bad enough but to outwardly advertise it when the teen suicide rate is continuing to go up is incredulous.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  21. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Most people against medical termination will have a change of mind when there laying in a hospital bed defficating on themselves while tied down to there beds suffering .

    July 20, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  22. Vorise L Jacobs

    Suicide is appalling to me ( at this point) perhaps I've not been ill enough. No matter the sign says it all "MY CHOICE". How one chooses to live or die is the most personal of personals and "NO ONE" has the right to interfere. We are always looking for something to legislate, especially if we can impose our beliefs upon others


    July 20, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  23. Colleen

    I personally believe suicide is wrong. It isn't for me. BUT. The Bible does say that God created all men with the freedom of choice and only God can judge their personal decisions. Isn't being judgemental also supposed to be a sin? How many of us who have never been through the constant, torturous pain these people are in, can truly say we wouldn't contemplate doing the same?

    I don't think the sign alone will cause people to go out en mass and commit suicide, do you? If someone has made up their mind to end their life, they are going to do it with or without the help of others.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  24. lwilrey

    Of course people should be allowed to die with dignity with assistance of a doctor and not have to suffer. This is terrible.

    I wanted to comment about the illegal alien that wanted to use American tax payer money for his education – but, could not find the story here. Why does CNN only tell the illegals side of the story?

    July 20, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  25. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Mentally stable people should be seperated from mentally unstable people when it comes to medical termination .

    July 20, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  26. Jared

    Why should the government be able to tell you how you want to end your own life? Why is this the government's responsibility? Someone who is terminally ill should have the right to die in a humane and compassionate manner as opposed to a painful and torturous manner in a hospital bed. Who is the government protecting by prohibiting this exercise of civil liberties? This is just another example of the government intruding upon people's personal life decisions for no good reason.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  27. Grimmona

    I'm tired of certian religions pushing their values and morals on the Nation. To these religions find suicide wrong; it's a personal choice.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  28. Stephen Drake

    Looking at the comments, it seems like some people seem to be confusing active suicide – especially of NONterminally ill people – with "pulling the plug" and "medical termination."

    FEN's method involves a plastic bag over the head, with helium pumped in. According to an affidavit from an undercover officer from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, he was told when posing as a cancer patient that part of FEN's "help" would involve holding his hands down so he didn't "inadvertantly" tear off the plastic bag. How you can distinguish that from murder is beyond me.

    The investigations in AZ and GA were both initiated as a result of complaints of concerned relatives allegedly aided by FEN.

    All this info has appeared in various mainstream news sources over the past year or so. CNN should be the one reporting this instead of me.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  29. Pam Killinger

    I am appauled at the interview you just had. As a person who attempted suicide 5 times, I am so glad that I am still alive. It turned out that I didn't want to die at all, I just couldn't sleep. But I didn't realise that at the time. Do these people offer any psychological assistance before they stick a bag over someones head.

    Pam – Nova Scotia

    July 20, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  30. lynne grubbs

    my mother killed herself with a gunshot to the head and I wish she had had access to the Final Exit team. As it is, she died alone and in pain. And that's one of the aspects of her death that hurts so badly.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  31. William

    Looks to me that both of the old coots on the interview need to start considering that 'bag.' ;-> People should be able to die whenever they choose to. Perhaps the government should reward it in some manner as something like 80% of lifetime healthcare costs occur in the last two years of life. Think how much money could be saved if folks didn't ride out terminal illness to the end.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  32. Shelly

    My Life, My Choice, My Death , My Business. It is no ones business if I want to commit suicide. It is my life to do with as I please. If I talk to my family and I'm in terminal pain then who is CNN to even get involved?
    I can't believe anyone would stick their nose into my business regarding what I do with my life. Get over it people, it is OUR decision.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  33. Beth Ver Steeg

    I was extremely suicidal, but I was aware that it was wrong to be like that so I checked myself into a psych ward. If I had seen a billboard like that, suicide wouldn't seem like such an unusual or horrible thing, and i know that I would look at my thoughts differently and not as an illness. That makes me worry about the undiagnosed mentally ill in the area near the billboard.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  34. Rose DiMaggio

    "Final Exit", absolutely disgusting! My brother committed suicide in 2002 using the "Plastic Bag" method from the Final Exit book. The VP you had on earlier isn't being truthful. The police at the scene in San Francisco told me that this method was all too common. There isn't anything comforting or glamorous about this book or suicide. The billboards should be removed immediately.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  35. James Glines

    Refusing someone the option of dying with dignity is what's criminal in my opinion. If that person is terminally ill and wishes to be spared the pain and cruelty of extended hospice or hospitalization, we should do everything we can to make their exit from this world more acceptable to them – after all, it's their life.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  36. Precilla

    what kind of message are we sending here? that it's okay to end your life just because you're going through an "professional organization"? this is sick and selfish!! Selfish on the organization's part in getting money out of this! i can understand if someone is terminally ill and they wish to not live off of life support, but assisting in suicide when there is no medical reasoning behind it is just appalling!

    July 20, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  37. maggie

    Citizens who have enjoyed productive lives but in the end are suffering with no possibility of recovery are entitled to a dignified death and should be allowed to exit the earth when they wish.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  38. Claire

    If people weren't so quick to assume the worst about efforts such as these like the most recent guest (proposing that plastic bags would be used), maybe we could have a more productive discussion on the issue. Many efforts in support of assisted suicide seek to end the ongoing pain and suffering that is caused by our technological ability to prolong life to a point at which it becomes unpleasant, even if medically plausible.

    Take a look at Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. This is physician assisted suicide, key word being PHYSICIAN. With legislation in place, it doesn't seem as if physicians will need to resort to plastic bags any time soon.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  39. V.E. Mills

    It is ridiculous that with 7 billion people on earth, and growing, with an increasingly materialistic, narcissistic, and vaccuous global culture (e.g. a shallow and meaningless society), that anyone thinks they have the right, especially in a supposedly free country, to force people to live on and on in unhappiness and/or ill health. If people want to leave this world, so be it! Some people are just not strong enough to function in this reality with a good quality of life. And since people are going to kill themselves with or without assistance, why should the process not be made as peaceful, comfortable, and humane as possible? Who are we to force and compel people to live, if they want to move on?

    July 20, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  40. Tony J.

    Didn't this group have to apply for for business and medical licenses? Surely they wre known about before now. Far as the billboards, I'm sure 5 miles downs there's some XXX bar and club sign. It's just as damaging to teens. Again, you have to apply and pay to get billboard space. Nobody complained. Thanks CNN for all the free world wide advertising.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  41. noreen salter

    It is a shame that anyone would want to end their life, but i can see why some would want to in this world especially the sick aging.
    Is it ok for the government to send men and women to a war that they don't want to be in ,and they feel the only way out is to kill themselves?
    Maybe you could save the young from killing themselves by ending bushes war that should have never happened.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  42. Cecilia Wunderlich


    As Catholic, I believe that these people is basically going against
    all the ethics of religion. What about Kavorkian case? wasn't him send to jail? I think these new people must be founded GUILTY of murdering in first degree. Send them to jail, to death penalty, and use the same items the practice with others.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  43. joan

    Life and Death are not decisions that are up to you. Has anyone ever considered what they will find on the other side after they choose take their own life. The other side could be much more painful for eternity. I guess you have to have faith to think this way – but GOD has the only choice when life or death decisions are possible. Offer your suffereing up for all your discretions in this life and let GOD take care of you in the next.
    That billboard is only going to give more persons permission to comitt suicide. It needs to go.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  44. Janet

    I want to support a new billboard:

    My life

    July 20, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  45. noreen salter

    From what Rita said i would say your first admendment right is double standard.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  46. Jordan Evans

    Complete control over our bodies is a god given right. No one has the right to tell you weather or not you can commit suicide or medicate yourself with any drug whatsoever. I find that the double standard with regards to freedom is getting out of control.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  47. Beth V.

    Even if they do assist in the patients suicides, I think that not accurately informing the family of the way that they die is completely unethical.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  48. Danny

    How dare anyone judge another,,,For those poor folks who are suffering with unimaginable pain with nothing but death to look forward too,,assisited suicide is the humane thing,,How smug some of these commentators are about the evils of helping one end his or her life,,I wonder how they would feel if it were them who had been in unbearable untreatable end of life pain for months ,,,in these cases where the individual is terminal and in excruciating pain ,,assisted suicide is the only humane answer,,I pray that when my time comes I die peacefully in my sleep but,God forbid,if Im in agonizing pain,,I would beg for someone to help me pass,,we wouldnt make our beloved dog or cat live under those conditions how could we do it to our mother of father?

    July 20, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  49. Cristian

    I am shock by the way the "journalist" managed the interview today. The role of a real journalist is to be neutral. She was acting as a bad tv judge with an already made opinion. Accusing this organization of a crime should not be the first issue in this discussion -which will be held in Court. The main point is how to respect the very basic human right to decide how to live and when and how to end our lives. I totally support FinalExit and every person and organization in defense of euthanasia and human dignity.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  50. Stephanie

    There are many types of suffering, emotionally and physically. I have seen many people suffer with unimaginable diseases, young and old. People who are so crippled they can only move their eyes. If someone wants to die, it is their choice on how they want it done. As far as these people committing a crime, Im not so sure about that. I personally think that if somone can verbally tell you that they want to die, regardless of the medical condition or none at all, those people will eventually do it on their own one way or another anyway.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  51. sylvia

    If you have ever seen a loved one waste away with cancer, suffer in pain, lose control of bodily functions, then you would never deny anyone the right to die.
    Perhaps the billboard could have included the term euthanasia so that teens would not think this is about suicide, which i think is reaching anyway, i have teenagers they are not going to kill themselves because of a billboard.
    If you know a teen who is in trouble get them mental health help immediately.
    Euthanasia should be a right of anyone diagnosed with a terminal disease. Choosing when you live or die should never be a crime.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  52. Don

    your comments on death are from both sides of thought but not those of the person wishing to leave. i am gaining in age and when my life becomes a problem for myself or those i love i will end it. it is my choice whether i need help or wish to be alone.

    My thoughts as i have expressed them

    Do it my way
    Do not interfere, - do not change the day
    Do not compromise my trip in any way
    Let the line go flat,– when there’s no more hills to climb
    Let the sounds become dull, when theirs nothing more to say
    Let the foot steps softly pass my door
    And let no one grieve that I, - am no more

    July 20, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  53. Jordan Evans

    Faith has no stake in this issue. Bar none.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  54. Heidi Ward

    Discussing death should be amongst family and friends, doctors and pastors, those with whom one is most comfortable. The study of Gerontology is advancing exponentially. There will come a day when every human will have a choice to live or die. After all, it is our inalienable right to choose our life's path. Whether we die in a car crash, by heart disease, natural causes, the end it is a fight between body and mind. When the body can no longer keep up with the spirit, soul is shed and shell casing goes back into the earth to grow up again. The soul is energy. Energy never dies. The arguing will pass.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  55. Vernon Kerr

    Suicide has impacted my family numerous times in my lifetime. Irrespective of the amount of pain I have personally experienced from this problem, I am in favor of legalizing assisted suicide for terminal medical conditions where end-of-life suffering and expense is inevitable. Of course the medical profession would never get behind this because it stands to lose the fortune that it now enjoys from prolonging the miserable lives of these terminal patients.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  56. EO

    Unfortunately, my husband & I were one of those families affected by an assisted suicide guide/book provided by the Hemlock society. Our beautiful daughter of 29 yrs. used cyanide which was mentioned in the guide to take her own life. The guide/book explained how to obtain the cyanide. Our daughter suffered from severe depression and was taking medication and getting counseling to deal with her problem. She was very well educated (had a master's degree), and her career was beginning to soar. However, she reached a low point, and decided to take the cyanide. This is the main problem we have with books and guides which offer assistance to end one's life. If only we could have our daughter back!!!! EO from Florida

    July 20, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  57. StevenL

    I'm not saying that a billboard advertising for assisted suicide is correct or warranted; although, there are individuals who are terminally ill or are "vegetables," assisted suicide would save families a lot of pain from prolonging the pain of loved ones.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  58. Emily

    I've read through most of your comments.. and I see valid points on both sides of the argument. I've worked in nursing for over 10 years.. I don't know how many of you have sat with someone suffering from a terminal condition.. begging to die.. suffering in pain and silence.. witnessing that suffering is heart wrenching at best... If it were me lying in that bed, sick and dying but unable to let go, I'd like to be given the choice to die on my own terms.. with dignity in a place I felt safe and comfortable.

    I could go on for hours about the other things that play into this.. mental cognition to make such a decision.. age... everything.. but I will not... if you've never witnessed death/dying you will never know the feelings of the person in that bed.. you will never know the suffering they endure for days, sometimes months...

    As far as the billboard is concerned... it's 4 words... how is this billboard any more controversial than abortion billboards? Abortion advocates tell us to take the choice away from the child we chose to create as to whether he/she wants to live or die... At least this billboard gives the choice to someone with the ability to choose...

    July 20, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  59. kristy locke

    I think it should be your choice if you want to die. If you are sick or deathly ill and you know you are going to die why just go when your ready?

    July 20, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  60. Gail Kirchner

    I have no idea what the big fuss is all about! If I were in the situation of having someone take care of me, I would have no quality of life and I would want to die. If I had a terminal illness and there was no hope for me, I would want to die. My family knows this and respects it. If I don't have this option, where have my freedoms gone?

    If someone does not believe in this, they certainly do not have to use this option!

    July 20, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  61. Anette Morrow

    I think this is a very misunderstood need for terminally ill people who are suffering with no hope of a cure. I own a home in Montana, although I don't currently live there, for the primary purpose of having a right to end my life if I find myself in that kind of situation. Montana is one of the few states that understands people need alternatives to terrible pain and have legalized our right to take our own life if we are unable to go on. It is terrifying to think i may not have any options and be forced to suffer unbearably. I don't let my dogs suffer once they reach a point where they are in constant pain, yet you are trying to tell me I have no right to make this decision for myself? I thought Kyra was too biased against this concept during her interview of the president of the Exit group.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  62. Richard

    I'm 77 in sound mind and body IMHO. I periodically get tickets for driving without my seat-belt fastened. This is pretty weird in the "land of the free", as our National Anthem proclaims. When the times comes, as it surely will, when I am unable to live comfortably. I will my quietus make, as Hamlet phased it. At that time, I'd like to dispatch myself comfortably and quickly. If this group seeks to inform me about this, let them be!

    I only caught the last few minutes of your program, but I thought you did a great job as the moderator.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  63. Valerie Dawson

    A month ago my dear cousin chose to end her life by stopping kidney dialysis. She had suffered through this for many years and had 11 different ports installed that continually became infected. The last port procedure caused a stroke and she was totally paralyzed on one side. She had to struggle with the hospital to stop the dialysis but finally suceeded and drifted off peacefully within a few days.

    Another dear friend who had irreversible lung disease and couldn't even tend to her own toilet needs managed to die after 3 attemps with the help of a compassionate doctor who gave her meds.

    This is "my life, my death, my choice" and I don't need any church butting into my life.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  64. Dr. Roger Spielmann

    My 7-year-old dog was diagnosed with cancer last week. She was obviously in terrible pain and our vet lovingly encouraged us to have her euthanized. We said our tearful "goodbyes" and then stayed by her side as the doctor "put her to sleep." We did what we consider (and still do) to be "the humane" thing to do. But when it comes to human beings with terminal cancers and unbearable pain, do we do the "humane" thing? No. We use barbaric methods and spurious arguments to keep them alive at all costs. So why is it "humane" to put an animal out of its misery and "unethical" to consider the doing the same to a human? My conclusion is that we human beings are a barbaric, hideous, and yes, stupid species. Do we so love to see terminal cancer patients live for months in torture and pain? I give up. When I decide, and for whatever reason I choose, I'll be the decision-maker of my fate. I'll take my own life while praying that others come to the same conclusion. And we call euthanizing a dying animal "humane." We are a sick species. May God have mercy on us all.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  65. Bill of Marietta, GA

    Anytime a choice is offerred, a freedom is offerred. If people do not support this sign they have the freedom to disreguard the sign. If people support this sign they have the freedom to pursue this information. Problems only exist when people feel they have the right to control other people's actions. Nazis felt they had the right to control other people's actions.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  66. Dr. C.E. Atkinson

    I think the Billboard is quite tasteful. What's more important is how little attention is paid to palliative care here in the U.S. Plus, we still don't have a decent health care system or universal insurance! Death is part of life - pretending it isn't inevitable, avoiding discussion of it or failing to provide end-of-life options makes even less sense. If one expects autonomy in life, why wouldn't he/she in death?

    July 20, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  67. Ellen


    Your report was utterly unbalanced. You were clearly criticizing The Exit Network representative and what he ultimately represents - the right to die. Further, you guided the International Euthanasia group's representative to criticize the man as well, ironically not encouraging her to offer approaches on how her group suggests dealing with euthanasia - the very matter she supports. Where was the true alternate point of view in all of this - was it yours in the way you directed the conversation?

    What happened to CNN and what happened to reporting?

    July 20, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  68. Geriatric nurse opinion- irresponsible reporting

    I work with older adults, about 70 to 109 years old. I am horrified, first by the interview I just watched of an old man who can barely talk, and second, by all the details of how you can kill yourself being shared by CNN. Fact is most older adults want to commit suicide, and they tell us this everyday. They should not be condemned for it. They should be understood and just allowed to talk about what is bothering them. While I do not believe that suicide helps them, I know a lot of older adults and family members were watching this program. Fact- they want to die. Nothing you can do about that. they don't think being diapered everyday by strangers is reason enough to live. Why would you give them the tools to do this? They are desperate to die, and a lot f them try to starve themselves to death. Please be responsible in your reporting. We turn a lot of tvs in nursing homes to CNN, and the reporters should be sensitive to this.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  69. Patrick

    What a bizarre and prosecutorial interview by Kyra. Was supposed to be a debate on if someone has a right to decide to end their own life but instead it was about painting a gruesome picture of assisted suicide. Ridiculous considering assisted suicide is far less gruesome and far more dignified then unassisted suicide. Suicide is horrible for the surviving family and friends and as a result, people lose all sense of practicality, compassion, and they become selfish – completely ignoring the individuals basic right to decide for themselves. Making the issue about the ugliness of death is incredibly irresponsible and amateur. Kyra really blew this one.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  70. Michael

    @ Michael and Anthony and all others.

    Your absolutely right. People do not understand what it is like to know you are dying one day at a time and there is no cure and you know the end will be full of pain and suffering.

    I have such a terminal illness. I have no desire to die at this time but I know the fate that awaits me some day. I have seen so many others die this horrible death. I can only hope that by the time I slip into a state of horrific living that people will stop trying to force their ideas of how I should die on me. I am more than willing to live as long as I have a quality of life. It is and always has been my choice when my life is not worth living.

    For those who want to force their religious beliefs on me. God grants free will. That includes the free will to live and the free will to Die.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  71. Joan Legallo

    I think you were not at all objective when reporting this important issue. It appeared to me that you were actually 'mocking' this gentleman. Give him some credit for his humanitarian attempts.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  72. Cari

    I think this billboard is a wake-up call. We can't blame anyone(except ourself) on how we want to live, the choices that we make for ourselves, and decisions on how or when we want to die. I noticed the argument on Live t.v focused on suicide. In reality, these aren't depressed teenagers, these are terminally ill people that are usually in constant pain. They are living because there is a machine that controls their breathing, controls there heart rate, intravenously feeds and hydrates them, just keeps them alive in general. The crime is prolonging their misery and keeping them alive when their time to peacefully pass naturally has already come and pass. The only beneficiary in the situation are the hospitals that get paid to leave a person "plugged up".

    July 20, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  73. Danielle

    I believe that God gave you life, & it is no ones choice but His alone, who will take it from you. These people should be ashamed of themselves for what they are doing even if they don't believe in God or not.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  74. Chad Warren

    The deception is that commuting suicide is a personal choice. It affects all of us. If the method of execution becomes more convenient -as it has with helium vs. gunshot then it could become as widespread as marijuana use. We are swimming in moral ambiguity. Taking a stand in declaring our position on issues and respecting those we disagree with will be the only way to manage issues like this as it becomes more apparent that law cannot. I praise God because he accepts me when I cannot or when I can't appreciate why things have to happen as they do. Does humanism allow for unanswerable questions or can reason always serve the greater good?

    July 20, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  75. Patrick

    I myself am suffering from an illness that will painfully take me down within the next several years. Although I am prepared to fight my illness for as long as I still have some quality of life and deal with the bad times that I now experience, I have no desire for my family to have to bare witness to my later days or the great financial expense and hardship that will grow from my terminal illness.
    Those who would oppose such thoughts of assisted suicide are usually painless, healthy people, guided by a lack of compassion because of they're fundamental religious or political beliefs.
    (example) I love my golden retriever with all of my heart... yet the day that I find him deeply suffering in pain without any future to live a healthy lifestyle, it will be my obligation to stop his pain... no matter how much it would break my heart to loose him.
    I don't want to have to choose a gun at the point when my suffering gets intolerable because a group of healthy people decided it's God's will for me to suffer to the very end.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  76. Manuel Felipe Munera

    The right to a merciful and dignified death within the context of a terminal illness should be permissible by proper legislation.
    The morality of it must be measured by the quality of life that is given to the victims of the illnesses they suffer.
    The medical personnel that agrees to assist a pacient in his/her dignified death must be given the latitude to do so.
    The alledged immorality needs to be for-given in light of the higher context of life itself.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  77. Renata Sjoblom

    Good morning Kyra and Thank you for bringing us this great news!
    I believe this is a long time needed HUMANE option for those who face starvation, coma, terminal illness, cancer,aids etc. You see we can battle and fight for what is left and we do! But it it is terminal or old age and complications we eventually loose the ability to digest meds or food. Ultimately they suffer the worst death ... Starvation. My brother had terminal brain cancer and I assure you, had we known about this we would have had this set up. In order for your guest opposing this to understand the humanity behind the choice, perhaps seeing someone you love in the death breath stage of dying might change her mind. It is awful. They are not there in mind, but essentially it takes time for all five organs to shut down. So that is what you are witnessing, a slow ( can be 10-30 days) and painful death. No amount of morphine can mask the pains a humans body experiences while in starvation and shut down. We put down a horse with a broken leg. We put down our animals so they do not suffer. Isnt it time we have the right to choose if we wish to suffer or not? Thank you again for bringing this to the top! OneAmerican

    July 20, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  78. E

    Good grief! My life is not my own? I must suffer to keep my children and grandchildren and friends happy? It's a slap in the face to someone who has to witness my death by choice from an life made intolerable because of my own suffering? My living will reads in part, "I refuse to have my life maintained by artificial means if there is little chance of my returning to a life where I am intellectually able to make reasoned decisions about my self. If I am able to make a reasoned decision about myself and my physical care and chose to terminate my life, I want my decision to be honored. If I am physically incapable of doing this act of suicide by myself, I want to be able to have help to complete this act in as painless a manner as is possible. If I reach a state where I am unable to make a reasoned decision about my self and have little quality of life or expectation of a return to a reasonable quality of life, I request those that I love to make this decision." I think my loved ones will be happier if they don't have to watch me suffer. Please send me the groups telephone number.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  79. Barbara Mathew

    People of this Nation need ways to exit this life as we know it. The haves are clueless of what the lives of the have nots are, and do not care because they feed off the sufferings of others. The unemployed have now lost their home, automobiles, furniture, children and pets and you still cannot understand why anyone would want to choose and exit plan from this life without experience of more pain and suffering. Enough is enough! When you have lived your life at age 45 and followed all the rules and have applied for over 500 employment positions and still get not 1 response, what is the purpose? How about someone explaining that to me! I don't have one second of not being able to understand why anyone would prefer to have someone help you with a painless exit plan to end this.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  80. bbhomebody

    As a Nurse I've watched terminally ill patients suffer tremendously waiting for death to take away their agony. And as a wife I watched my husband die slowly and miserably.
    I believe that if most people had to witness a loved one dying a horribly uncomfortable death, they would opt for a quick and painless way out such as this. Watching someone gasp for breath for 12 solid hours prior to their death is much worse than a plastic bag with helium over their head for maybe 30 seconds.
    In regards to the Billboards-If someone is already thinking 'suicide', a billboard isn't going to make their decision for them.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  81. polly scanlon

    Yes, it is my life and I will end when I choose to. I have always believed that death comes when the time is right for whatever reason a person chooses. Until last year when I developed a rare and virulent form of cancer, I had planned to end my life at the first signs of dementia or a protracted and debilitating illness – to go with my head high and without being a burden to my family. I have collected the means to accomplish my death quietly and peacefully. I am even firmer in that resolve since my cancer treatment as no one informed me that the result of the chemotherapy and subsequent transplant would be worse than a quick death from the cancer if left untreated. I cannot feel my hands or feet, cannot drive, cannot go up or down stairs and cannot walk more than ten steps because the chemo stripped my muscles and fried the nerves in my extremities. I have resolved that if the cancer returns (I have been cancer free for 13 months), I will not under go treatment again and will help to ease my passing in control of my faculties and with dignity. We have developed a society that believes it is invincible but refuses to look at the effects of this belief – swelling of the ranks of the elderly (many who outlive their children), nursing homes filled to capacity, a medical care system that benefits financially by experimenting on frail lives by performing "life saving" procedures on people with advanced Altzheimer's who don't know they're in the room. The late Governor Lamb of Colorado had it right: " The elderly have a responsibility to die." If we don't take control of our lives, we have only ourselves to blame. Groups like the Final Exit Network should be praised for putting these issues before us – not vilified by reactionary commentators like Kyra.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  82. invasion

    I am tired of all the interest groups(including the Gov) taking interest in my life. Espcially on what I do with my life or my body. If I want to kill myself I should be allowed. If I don't want to where a seatbelt in my car I shouldn't have to. If I want to put drugs in my body that's my choice no one elses. All the things that I have mentioned affect me and my safety. Which nobody not even the government should be able to tell me what I can do to myself or body. Why don't we just declare marshall law everyone has to stop and/or turn everything over that might be harmful. You need to be in your home by 6 p.m. and the good sheriff will be by to pick up your urine sample. Let us worry about ourselves if you want to live then live no one has the right to force life or safety on my body. I mean are we that bored with our own life that we need to control or make decisions on what we feel is right for others.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  83. melania

    seems like that most people who believe in Gods sooner or later will act like one. Ultimate Supremacy, I guess. Anyway, the topic at hand is not about helping people that are too sick to live. I could understand that even if English is only my second language.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  84. Phillip

    In humanity's perception of a perfect world, change would be involved. Some people would do things they didn't, while others would take back some of the things they did. Sickness and pain would be taken away. Many would put themselves in places of power, prominence, and popularity. Others would wish universal equality. Regardless of idealistic dreams, the world is far from perfect.

    But I believe steps can be taken to reduce the problems in society. One of the first and possibly the largest step to bettering our world is living SELFLESSLY. Giving; not taking. Sharing; not stealing. Loving; not hating. The idea of prematurely ending your life to "suffocate" the pain is the epitome of selfishness. Abortion, suicide, and euthanasia are cowardly responses to the reality of an imperfect world.

    Living SELFLESSLY – this is the issue at hand.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  85. Ellen

    If you believe, as someone wrote, "... that God gave you life, & it is no ones choice but His alone, who will take it from you," do you consider life support and pharmaceuticals vehicles of God? Essentially, no matter what we do in this day in age, we are tampering with sustaining or reducing life one way or another. The matter of the quick versus slow death seems to be the point that folks get stuck on, no?

    July 20, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  86. Amanda

    I'm not an advocate of suicide, I feel it's a selfish act that negatively affects all the loved ones of that person. However, what this organization is doing is simply easing the terminally ill patient's death. I have spent some time as a HOSPICE volunteer and have witnessed first hand people unhappy with the quality of life their illness has forced them to live. If a person is suffering from a terminal illness who are we to decide when it's time from them to die? That decision can only be made by the dying person, if a person wants to die, they will find a way to do it. To me, there doesn't seem to be any signs of malicious acts preformed by this organization, as far as I can see, they are trying to show some compassion to people that feel their time is over.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  87. Granny Pud

    I have watched the suffering of those who "linger" with extensive pain and/or have no recognition of life as we know it. I learned what a Doctor meant when he said to me, "There are circumstanses worse than dieing." At the time I thought, "How cruel." Caring for my mother and her second husband. . . clearly showed me what he meant; Causing me to make a "Living Will" that spells out that I do not want to linger in those conditions. I would certainly support "The Right to Die" movement in my state. Forcing a human to suffer living with pain or in a no-naware state and/or a state of humilation is selfish on the part of the living. I saw how my loved ones suffered. . . it was painful... It still hurts to think of what they suffered. With first hand experience at the suffering of those who linger with pain,and humiliation, . I am for the right to choose!

    July 20, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  88. nora

    Why twenty four years ago? Believe me when a crowd of persons are after something or after someone they do not care who or what it takes to remove that person. I know the feeling.

    July 20, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  89. Fed Up

    I don't want to endure the pain of a loved one committing suicide so clearly, they are obligated to go on living despite their pain and/or terminal illness. It doesn't matter that they will commit suicide in a far more messy, tragic, undignified manner anyway. My pain is what counts and my views are what count so it's ridiculous that a person in unimaginable pain should think they have the right to decide for themselves how they want to die. It's not like death is inevitable you know. Oh sure, we let people write wills, and decide on cremation vs. burial once the inevitable happens but's taboo and therefore illogical and therefore I get to decide what other people should do with their lives/deathes so that I can feel less pain or cognitive dissonance. As for the people that are compassionate enough to help make the process less horrifying and painful while facing overwhelming public scrutiny and moronity (not to mention criminality)....again, my inability to cope with the reality and inevitability of suicide are what count so, they are criminals.

    July 20, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  90. Paul Olson

    Who thw heck is Glen Beck ? He is no one to me !

    July 20, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  91. Renata Sjoblom

    After reading all these comments from my fellow citizens..I think it is clear here..The right to the pursuit of happiness is in our constitution! I believe that one comment had it right – marshall law. When are we going to let people have the right to make decisions with out consent from a church that is rich, a government that is divided by moral opinion and a nation that is rich and paying starvation wages. This is the ultimate sin. We are killing our own with political opinions that are day by day holding Americans hostage in a Country that cares more about the devastation in other countries than that of our own. Our neighbors are silently disappearing into the abyss of poverty of the worst kind. What does one have to go on? Add a terminal illness or old age with complications and I say "pass the bag"!

    July 20, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  92. Heidi Ward

    Well said, Dr. Spielmann.

    July 20, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  93. Dan

    People above are comparing pets with humans. Kind of like comparing apples to oranges.
    People have souls (you enter eternity once you depart this earth). Pets don't have souls.
    You better make sure you are good and ready for eternity once you depart this earth, as there is no second chance (for all non-beleivers).

    July 20, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  94. len berks

    The posted billboards may be a little bit "over the top" because people of all ages today are so mentally fragile, it takes very little to influence them towards a certain course. But in reality when hospices, healthcare providers and families of terminal patients administer "comfort measures" with certain dosages of morphine, what often occurs? Assisted suicide?

    July 20, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  95. S. Jones

    Print it in Spanish. Perhaps we could start solving our illegal immigration problem simultaneously. May as well print in arabic as well...

    July 20, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  96. Angela

    The Final Exit Network should NOT be associated or compared to physician-assisted suicide, also known as physician aid-in-dying. This group does nothing to promote legalized PAS and the way they operate is not even close to PAS. The Final Exit Network will aid anyone who is "suffering", whether they are depressed, mentally ill, or physically ill. Instead of offering emotional support and counseling, this group provides all the information on how to suffocate yourself with helium. No need to try to improve your life or your condition, just practice "self-deliverance" and everything will be fine. It's morally and ethically deplorable.

    July 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  97. Gia

    Souls.....? Life is life regardless of your religious beliefs. Suffering is INHUMANE regardless of which life it is.

    July 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  98. john

    Anyone who thinks assisted suicide is wrong has never seen a loved one waste away from cancer to the point they are in such pain they can't even get out of bed and just sitting up causes them to cry they are in so much pain.

    July 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  99. monomial

    What a double standard this country has. Abortion is ok but not suicide. At least suicide is self inflicted as abortion is the killing of an innocent human being. It should be all or nothing.

    July 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  100. RM

    Obama care will solve this problem real fast.

    July 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  101. cindy gramke

    I think it's time for Americans to recognize peoples right to die. Starving people to death is not humane nor is keeping them alive when in great pain and suffering . I hope that I will be given the right to choose. We can't burden our children or our country with the cost of keeping people alive who would have died if modern medicine hadn't come as far as it has. We put animals out of their misery and put them quietly to sleep can't we do the same for people with no hope of recovery.

    July 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  102. Maxine H. Adler-Pou

    I wish Final Exit had chosen a better spokesperson for today's interview. I have supported that organization and other similar ones for many years and still do, but the roadsign is not at all appropriate to be seen by all ages.

    Your morning segment fell far short of reporting on the matter, as there are several ways other than plastic bags to peacefully end a painful life. None were mentioned. Better to have omitted the plastic bag than to explain on the air the full panoply of methods. CNN should have focused on the roadsign and that's all.

    What Final Exit, Hemlock, Concern for Dying, et al do is disseminate information about gentle end of life. If Final Exit accompanies the patient it is solely on the request of that person and after thorough interviewing to be sure the peaceful exit is genuinely desired. The end of life companions are trained. I have considered becoming one myself.

    On the other hand, traditionally the medical industry almost never asks gravely ill or suffering patients what their wishes may be, pro or con. The 30,000 suicides mentioned (many of them violent) omit the many attempted suicides that fail due to lack of information. Many botched suicides leave a wretched trail of suffering for the person who wanted to exit.

    Society's bias is prosecuting the end of life companions. It is a personal matter and should be prosecuted only, repeat only if bribery, extortion or other pressures on the patient were present.

    Up with Final Exit. Down with the sign.


    July 20, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  103. Maxine H. Adler-Pou

    Len Berks is right. Whenever you hear that a "famous" person died with family at their bedside – it was most probably a planned exit. Then again, many non-famous, non-wealthy people don't have famiiy or friends to be by their side and they now have a way to die peacefully anyway.

    End the hypocracy of church and state. Watch and protect, but leave these people alone..

    July 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  104. Joe

    We can debate euthanasia some other time. The billboard does not make a statement about euthanasia. It proclaims, "My Life, My Death,, My Choice." What kind of message does that send to a 17-year-old driver troubled by peer pressure and perhaps feeling unpopular at school? The billboard is irresponsible and should be removed immediately.

    July 20, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  105. Mark Hahn

    How dare they tell anyone what to do with their life. Nobody supports suicide by mentally unbalanced people in need of healing help. But the crux of this issue is the terminally ill person, slowly eroding down the agonizing road towards eternity. I vividly recall watching my mother painfully wither through unrelenting pain for her last week. I let her down by not putting her out of her misery. I try to entertain opposing viewpoints in order to keep an open mind. But explain to me why it is considered the right thing to do if we euthanize a cripple and pain-ridden pet but it is considered immoral to remove a loved one from the same inevitable fate? Please someone, make sense of this for me.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  106. Jeff

    If someone wanted to kill themselves, I'd probably assist as long as it was for a real good reason. Some of you people would rather watch loved ones suffer at the hands of a terminal illness for months to years than let them rest in peace.

    They lay in a hospital bed running up an insane bill, deteriorating slowly, their will dwindling, to die drugged up on morphine. I think it's honorable to want to die at a more prime time and not leave loved ones with a bill to shoulder for years to decades.

    It's kinda ironic and contradictory, some of the same people that are PRO-LIFE are against UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. Why? Because conservatives opinion outlets influence the simple minded and associated socialism with evil? What happened to government should provide for the common welfare? But I digress.

    I'm sorry some of your family members committed suicide but that was their choice. I'm not for it but maybe you should recognize the factors that led them to the decision to give up.

    Blame the banking system, the gas company, the credit card companies for enslavement, transforming people into 21st century indentured servants. Blame the addict husband that abused then left his wife with nothing. Blame the priest that sodomized and violated his vows.

    But people who commit suicide are victims. Victims of a broken heart and broken will. Only the strong survive, that is how life evolves. In a world where people claim ownership over air space, land, and water, where behind every great fortune lies a great crime, and where people die for leaves with an assigned value... it's no wonder people do not want to live in this world.

    July 21, 2010 at 12:37 am |
  107. mark trought

    For Vilsack to have admitted that due process was not completed – that is complete viewing of the video – makes me want to considerate his Vilsack fitness for his post as Agri Secy. Even at the home a parent before disciplining a child must seek as much information before doling out pounishment.

    Now, he is willing to reconsider – no doubt using due process now – her position.

    Tom Vilsack needs to be sacked. Tom you have lost credibility – please exit the stage.

    July 21, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  108. Mikey

    I saw what the REPUBLICANS tried to do to the Terry Shivo family and I do not them involved with mine or my wifes decision on these issues.
    It is nobodys but mine and my wifes decision.

    July 21, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  109. Lee Vizer

    Right now, health care resources are so limited that we don't have enough to adequately handle ill people who desperately want to live. So doesn't it seem insane to force people to live whose suffering makes them desperately want to die? Those who have tried in vain every remedy known to them and have nothing but misery ahead? What kind of society inflicts such an end on those already at the end of their rope? And why?

    The death-with-dignity issue has been likened to the abortion issue, but there is a huge difference. The latter involves two entities: a pregnant woman and a fetus. Here there is only one: a suffering human being. Those who would impose their religious or moral views on this most vulnerable of persons cannot claim the higher ground in doing do. It's about power and control. Period.

    July 21, 2010 at 10:55 am |
  110. Gwen Lebec

    There is more discussion about suicide today because so many people lost their retirement funding in the economic crash. They know their money will not last their 'lifetime', that they have no ability to handle a serious medical/financial crisis; and they don't trust the U.S. system to care for them humanely once they become frail. All very realistic. In the last year I have talked to dozens of people whose new retirement strategy is to hold on as long as they can, and to make their own exit when their security and quality of life end. Too bad the Republican fantasy of 'death panels' was not real. People will be inventing their own in this new hell the U.S. has become due to the control of the GOP and corporations who actually want America to be a third world country. Suffering poor, super rich, and no one in between.

    July 22, 2010 at 7:35 am |
  111. Queen Milcah

    It is helping them to commit suicide! What ever happen to gracefully getting old and dying in spite of what you have to face?

    July 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  112. Shamika

    I for one feel very strongly about this topic as I work in health care. Having worked in a local community hospital for sometime now I believe that the direction of these debates from start to finish are severly misguided as well as misunderstood. No one seems to want to take into account those people that are truly beyond the ability of medicine to help. I see, and do my best to care for those day in and day out that suffer in the most inhumane ways. On a regular basis I witness human beings forced by loved ones, the fear of death, or physicans unwilling to be painfully honest with their clients go through "life sustaining" procedures that in fact rob them of their quality of life. Feeding tubes, medications, surgical procedures and so on. Then when families are unable to care for these individuals they are "placed" in facilities that are already understaffed and under funded to die slow painful deaths via systemic infections and bed sores. Science and medicine can only do but so much. Perhaps the question shouldn't be "Is it right, wrong, legal, or illegal" to end ones life, or assist one in doing so. Perhaps the question should be "Is it right to allow any human being to suffer based on anothers ideology"? How can we as a humans beings with compassion and intelligence think it's ok to " not allow an animal to suffter" once it"s injury or illness becomes untreatable yet not show that same compassion to each other? We as a society would appear to have more compassion for the family dog, cat, or barn yard animal than for our human loved ones.

    July 23, 2010 at 1:15 am |
  113. Jon

    The question here is not whether we have a "right to die," but whether anyone else has the right to force people to live against their will.

    If a person wants to commit suicide, NO ONE should have the authority to prevent that person from doing so beyond using verbal tools of persuasion. For family and friends to prevent suicide is one thing, but for an authority to institutionalize and forcibly drug suicidal people is wrong.

    What benefit is there to society for a person to be locked up in a hospital where they live in depression and fear and a state of comatose as a result of prescription drugs? And at the expense of the taxpayer, no less! What benefit is there to that person's family to see their loved one living in a prison disguised as a hospital? It only prolongs their misery. What benefit is there to the individual who spends his/her days wandering in a daze? None.

    This is not about a "right to die," this is about the false belief that we have the right to force someone to live against his/her will at the expense of and detriment to society, families and individuals.

    July 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm |