Friday, January 27, 2006

Oregon should take assisted suicide a step further.

I'm pretty much pro-choice across the board. Live and let live, you know? As long as you don't unreasonably infringe upon the personal rights of your fellow man, more power to you.

Gay marriage? Cool. I don't necessarily want to marry another man, but I like to know that the option is there for me. Especially if some 99 year-old billionaire ever takes a liking to me. I don't understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to gay marriage. If a couple of queens tie the knot in Boston, how is that going to have any impact on a couple's marriage in Dayton?

In fact, I submit that heterosexuals have such a lousy track record when it comes to marriage that it might be time to ban straight marriage for a while. Seriously, can gays screw it up any more than straights have? I don't think so. Let them have exclusive rights to marriage for a few years and see how it works.

Abortion? I'm not a Christian, but I know enough about Christianity to understand that there's this guy everybody calls God who pretty much runs the show. Apparently he evaluates your life and decides whether you get to go to heaven and sing hymns with Pat Robertson and Mother Theresa, or burn in hell with Pamela Anderson and The Rolling Stones.

You see, there's a debate about abortion in this country. Some people say that life begins at conception, which is to say that a human being is created the moment sperm meets egg. Whatever. The point is that the people complaining loudest about abortions are Christians and Christians believe that this God of theirs will judge everybody for their sins. If abortion really is a sin then why not let this God deal with it at the end of the proverbial day?

I don't want to debate the subject at length, but I know for a fact that I would definitely get an abortion if I got pregnant. Oh, I'd milk that pregnancy for what it was worth. I'd go on Maury and Oprah, and maybe even let Regis and Kelly feel my belly, but after the checks cleared I'd have that little monkey terminated. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies. And I'm not going to learn either.

I know. It's highly unlikely that I would ever face such a dilemma but if abortion was illegal and I did get knocked up, I would be forced to carry that thing to term and I don't know how it would be getting out. I don't even want to think about it. Kidney stones are frightening enough.

If I were a Christian I wouldn't get involved in the abortion issue. Why would I care? God's making the tough decisions so all I have to do is mind my own damned business and follow the rules. It's hard enough staying out of secular trouble, so subscribing to a theocratic dogma is almost impossible. I would think most Christians would be too busy keeping themselves in God's good graces to worry about the sins somebody else is committing. Besides, you don't want everybody going to heaven, do you? Wouldn't that get a little crowded? Less is more.

That brings us to the Oregon assisted suicide thing. Apparently the Supreme Court upheld an Oregon statute that allows doctors to assist terminal patients in attaining a peaceful resolution to their suffering. Christians are outraged at this. Again I think that Christians would be content to sit back and let these people answer to God.

There are some people who think that this is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. The doctor has a right to decide which treatments he or she will prescribe, and if the individual doctor is opposed to the suicide solution, so be it. Others worry that legalized assisted suicide will open the door for non-terminal patients to avail themselves of professional help when they decide to off themselves.

This is where I get a little weird. I think that we should have suicide clinics for everybody. Why limit suicide to those who are on death's door? People kill themselves everyday. It's not like the law is a deterrent. A depressed man doesn't refrain from blowing the top of his head off because he's worried about the legal ramifications and of all the cases of attempted suicide I am not aware of one person who has been convicted of attempted murder or felonious assault. That would be a hoot, though. Talk about adding insult to injury...

In Columbus two people tried to kill themselves by driving into oncoming traffic. Every week somebody calls the police to investigate a horrible smell emanating from an adjacent apartment only to find that a neighbor did himself in. Hikers stumble upon the decaying remains of those who choose to end it all in the seclusion of the woods. The bottom line is that do-it-yourself suicide inconveniences everybody. If you don't hurt others in your attempt, you annoy them when they have to clean up your final mess. I know that's cold, but we're talking about people who don't want to be around anymore.

So let's have open clinics where people can get professional assistance in ending their lives. Who are we to tell somebody that they have something to live for? Maybe they don't. We all know somebody who really would be better off dead, why force them to prolong their misery(or ours)? Open suicide clinics would eliminate the horrific mishaps that occur when people don't get the job done right.

The world is getting a little crowded and we really don't need valuable space being taken up by people who don't want to be here. The reality is that most suicidal people aren't very fun to be around and wouldn't be missed a whole hell of a lot when they're gone. Sure there are exceptions, but not many. Sadly, not enough insufferable people are suicidal. We all have a co-worker or two who would do the world a favor if they took firm hold of the third rail, but they never would. They get too much joy out of making the rest of us suicidal.

This really would open the door to a new brand of therapy too. A suicide doctor could be a specialist that regular doctors would refer patients to. That morbidly obese diabetic who won't lose weight? Refer him to doctor death. Why prolong the inevitable? Psychiatrists could refer problematic patients to suicide centers as well. There are just some people who have nothing going for them, why waste their time? Why waste ours?

Frankly, I'm surprised that Oregon has this suicide issue on the books at all. This is the state that has a pretty flexible medicinal marijuana provision at its disposal, so I would think that most terminally ill patients would rather be baked than fried, but to each his own. Personally I'd take the pot.

The more I think about it, the more I like Oregon. I have to make a few calls.

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