Lasha Morningstar


February 23, 2015

People are cheering, people are crying. But for too many, the realization of what has just happened has not sunk in yet. The Supreme Court just said sure, it's OK for someone to be put to death by a physician.

The nicey nice name for it is physician-assisted suicide.

Yes, I have listened to emotion-filled voices of relatives tell of watching relatives and/or friends die lingering, painful deaths.

Please, dear readers, I am not denying the anguish they went through. Nor should they have had to undergo such suffering.

That is why palliative care is a crucial element in the health care system.

I remember working as the medical reporter in the secular press decades ago. I encountered a physician who included pain reduction as crucial in his treatment of his cancer patients.

Standing by the bedside of a young mother and watching her perk up after a particular medication, I began to understand why he worked so hard at palliative care. He cared so much that he studied French and moved his family to Montreal to continue his studies and practice.

Let us too look at the seemingly careful provisions in the court's permission. All sorts of criteria about how competent the person must be to make the decision are there.


My eyes stumble though when they reach the grievous medical condition - mental included. How far are they willing to take this? In the Netherlands, the Life Ending Clinic handles people with chronic depression. Yes, they are given assisted suicide.

I watched a friend struggle with sadness to the point he underwent shock treatments. He moved and we lost touch. But I never once heard him wish he was dead. He just wanted to be well.

With all the experimental treatments, newly-discovered medications, constant searching for answers to all the various mental anguish, do we not have the right to keep on trying? What right do these medical groups have to beckon someone in seeming chronic pain with the promise of relief - relief that is final; relief that is death.

Belgium euthanizes children of any age. The criteria are incurable disease, great pain, "capable of discernment," approval of parents. I cannot wrap my head around what people involved go through when a child is purposefully put to death.


There is another person here too that many lawmakers and advocacy groups seem to have forgotten.

Remember the doctor? This man or woman has given their life to save lives. They have studied for years, worked night and day, in many cases sacrificed much of their own lives to care for their patients.

What happens to this front line worker when he or she kills a man, woman, child, baby? At what point does post-traumatic shock hit them?

Advocates sneer at the term slippery slope. But it will happen as society becomes accustomed to this taking of life. The scope becomes wider, permissions become easier, the graveyards fuller.


I don't want this in my country. I want to bolster funding for medical research, fight for healthier communities, demand whatever compassionate, palliative care is needed.

Think back decades ago when a child born out of wedlock was a sin. That was me. In a wealthy family, it was oh so easy to send me away to foster homes. I was brought back at school age.

Now, such a baby would be welcomed into a home where they are wanted and kept forever. It's called adoption.

Society changes. Instead of opting for death, let's fight for life. Why not chase after heart health, mental health, diagnosis and cures for cancers, multiple sclerosis and other chronic diseases.

I remember an angel whispering in my ear, "Your miracle could be just around the corner." Let's pray and work for cures and miracles - not death.

(Lasha Morningstar