Assisted Suicide (a letter sent to CT State Senator Ed Meyer)

February 12, 2013

Senator Ed Meyer
Legislative Office Building
Room 3200
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

Dear Senator Meyer,

I hope this letter finds you well and in good spirit.  I write to raise a matter of concern regarding a piece of legislation you are promoting that would legalize assisted suicide.

Personally, both here and in Australia, I have worked closely with the dying for over 30 years.  It is through this direct experience with patients and their families that I find the intent, and the loose, open-ended language of Proposed Bill No. 48 incredibly mystifying and profoundly disturbing.

Fundamentally different from Living Wills, the practice of assisted suicide definitively sets in stone a moment that is better left to emerge on its own.  This is not an endeavor that our government should initiate, endorse or enable.  Indeed, death has its own built-in inertia, and suicide is not something for which we should actively offer assistance.

Professionally, I can attest, seeing time and time again, that the dynamics and processes incumbent in dying consistently crystallize the beauty of living, especially for those who remain.  I’ve watched as parents have imparted definitively enduring blessing upon their children, and children have received defining empowerment for life.  Similarly crucial engagements also occur with wider family, friends, acquaintances and care-givers.

Introducing undefined notions of suffering, ostensibly sustaining measures like yours, in concert with the common suggestion that people’s objections are primarily religious, are approaches based in fundamental ignorance — relying upon that same lack of awareness to gain broader support.  They set up false impressions and premises that are far afield of the truth.  Proposed Bill No. 48 is a sad societal mistake, at best, whether or not it is religiously sound.

As predominantly displayed daily, in hospitals and in hospice, apart from incompetence, the dying need not suffer at all, or perish without dignity.  Therefore, assisted suicide simply suspends natural courses as it curtails compassion, only sparing people breath and life.  The government legislatively permitting such an approach, while expedient in saving some money, squanders our decency.

Surely we should be about protecting the dying and enabling the living.  Such engagement will keep us all abundantly busy, and may well produce results likely to honor the elemental actuality of death, specifically because it enhances the healthy pursuit of life.


Rev. Bill Keane

(note to the reader:  Proposed Bill No. 48 is now House Bill 6645, even more chilling in full expression.  And, I never received a response from the good Senator…)


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