Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Society • Right to Die vs. Right to Live

SACRAMENTO 3/12/16—The California State Legislature recently passed the Right to Die Bill. Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law which becomes legal on June 9th. This bill allows physicians to supply the pills that will end a life that has become intolerable.

This bill was spurred on by 29 year old Brittany Maynard who suffered painful brain cancer and pleaded to have her life ended to put her out of her misery.  Since California had no such law, she and her husband took up residence in Oregon where euthanasia is legal. Her husband returned to push the right-to-die legislation in Sacramento.

While it is understandable that when a life is destined to end, and consists of excruciating pain that cannot be soothed, the individual should be able to make the choice for death with dignity. However, there must be strict guidelines throughout this process.

For example in several countries that have adopted this law, involuntary euthanasia arose, where one is arbitrarily put to death as laws became more permissive. This has created a mechanism where someone who has become too expensive to government health care assistance, or, is simply in the way,a Pandora’s Box is opened. I remember a video showing a man about to be euthanized screaming, “No I don’t want to die!”  Didn’t matter, he had become too expensive and in the way. This is unacceptable.

In the Netherlands, 1,040 people have died without their consent. Before legalization, doctors would euthanize patients and then falsely sign the death certificates as “natural causes.”This gives meaning to the Death Panels that Sarah Palin worried about.  Actually we already have active death panels with involuntary euthanasia.  It is called abortion.

The only way this bill should go forward, is to add a stipulation that physician assisted suicide can only take place with consent from the individual targeted, not by a death panel, not a relative nor anybody else.  This addition to the legislation must be mandatory. Legislation without thinking leads to disaster.

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