Assisted Suicide: Act of Mercy or Cutting Life Short?

I was listening to “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR this morning and her guest was John West, author of The Last Goodnight, a book written about helping his parents commit suicide. His father had terminal cancer and his mother was falling into mental decline and both asked him to help them meet death on their own terms when they felt their times had come.

I don’t know what I think about assisted suicide. I absolutely believe that life is precious, a gift from God that should be lived to its fullest. But I can imagine how it would feel to come to a point where life no longer seemed to serve any purpose but misery and/or great physical pain. Of course, death would seem attractive, an end to one’s struggles that I can’t claim I wouldn’t want when my own quality of life fell to some undetermined breaking point. If someone I loved asked me to help them leave this life with a little dignity, would it be too much to ask for?

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