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Kirsten Powers: Suicide by any other name


“Right to die” proponents take advantage of human vulnerability, obfuscate reality of assisted suicide.

The grim reaper is feeling bullish.

Following success in California — the fifth state where doctors are now free to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally-ill or dying patients — so-called “right-to-die” activists have turned their eyes to Maryland, New York and beyond.

I think that this is a national wave,” Maryland Del. Shane E. Pendergrass, D-Howard, told The Washington Post. Pendergrass plans to sponsor “right-to-die” legislation in January.

It’s a wave with the potential to sweep some of society’s most vulnerable — the elderly, the terminally ill and disabled — prematurely into the hereafter.

When Oregonian octogenarian Kate Cheney was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she sought a prescription to end her life. The first doctor denied the request due to concerns about Cheney’s mental capacity and her daughter’s aggressiveness. A second doctor deemed Cheney mentally competent but noted that her “choices may be influenced by her family’s wishes and her daughter, Erika, may be somewhat coercive.” Months later, Cheney gathered with her family, drank the deadly mixture provided by her doctor and died.

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