Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sometimes death is more Letter of the day

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Letter writer Harry Wolbert (Live with dignity, Nov. 5) is right to want to see improved supports and services for disabled people, but that is where we stop seeing eye to eye.

Bill C-384 isn't about denying the disabled their right to dignity, they will still be as free to live and thrive in society as they ever were. It is naive, however, to think that there are not some people out there who are in such dire situations that medical science is incapable of restoring them to a point where life is worth living. These people need to be free to end their lives on their own terms. The needs of the disabled are not going to be better met by ignoring the cries of the tormented.

Wolbert continuously uses the term "we" as though he has some divine right to speak for all terminally ill and disabled people. He says that "the pain argument doesn't hold water." What he doesn't seem to understand is that those of us who still have the will to live have no right to assume we know the depths of human suffering.

There are people who live confined to their beds with nothing to look forward to besides their doses of morphine. There are families forced to watch helplessly as their parents and grandparents beg for release while slowly deteriorating before their eyes. Who is being served by allowing these tragedies to continue?

There's no doubt that improving the lives of the disabled and terminally ill is an important cause, but they can't all be coloured with the same pencil. Sometimes people are beyond our ability to help. You can't deny them their right to choose, because sometimes the only way to improve your quality of life is to end it.

ALEX PASSEY

Oakbank

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2009 A15

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