Chicago Tribune: Letters to the editor: Medical aid in dying in Illinois

September 23, 2023

Excerpts from Chicago Tribune letters to the editor published September 23, 2023:

Medical aid in dying in Illinois

I was moved by author Stephen J. Lyons’ telling of his mother-in-law’s prolonged, agonizing death (“The painful realities of getting old,” Sept. 16) and the powerful case he made for why Illinois lawmakers should introduce and pass a medical aid-in-dying law so no other terminally ill Illinoisans have to suffer needlessly.

However, Lyons may have inadvertently caused confusion among Tribune readers when he said that his mother-in-law contributed to Compassion & Choices and then cited a 2018 “Gallup Values and Beliefs” poll showing that 72% of Americans favor physician-assisted euthanasia.

Medical aid-in-dying laws do not permit euthanasia… Compassion & Choices, and our sister organization, Compassion & Choices Action Network, do not support euthanasia, which is illegal in the United States…

Clearly, this issue is not politically risky. In fact, the vast majority of Illinois voters are likely to be grateful to lawmakers who pass this compassionate legislation as soon as possible so they won’t have to worry about them or their loved ones dying with needless suffering as Lyon’s mother-in-law did. This is why Compassion & Choices is active in a statewide coalition, the Illinois End-of-Life Options Coalition, to encourage Illinois legislators to introduce and pass medical aid-in-dying legislation.

— Amy Sherman, Midwest advocacy director, Compassion & Choices Action Network, Northbrook

Witnessing painful deaths

Stephen J. Lyons’ op-ed concerning medical aid in dying struck a painful chord for me. My father and my mother-in-law died after extended and excruciating declines. Several times, my father begged me to bring him something with which he could end his life and the pain. To this day, I still feel guilt that I was unable to help him. My mother-in-law writhed in pain for weeks in spite of the maximum dose of morphine she was being given…

Compassion & Choices advocates for this most personal of all freedoms: the right to choose to die peacefully and comfortably if a painful decline and death is inevitable.

It’s time to give us that right in Illinois.

— Colin C. Campbell, Geneva



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