My blood is boiling. There is an article on Yahoo News (and I assume it’s being widely reported everywhere) about a 17 year old girl who is being forced by the state she lives in to undergo chemo therapy for Hodgkins Limphoma. The courts in her state denied her petition to be granted the right to chose for herself, despite the fact that she will be 18 before the treatment concludes.
I could use the fact that states try children as young as 15 as adults for capital crimes, clearly believing that 15 year old kids CAN be mature enough to make adult decisions and accept the consequences for them. But I won’t.
I could even try to make an argument about the so-called “sanctity of life” and how nobody, no matter how hard you try, has ever outlived this lifetime. But I won’t.
Instead, I’m going to go at it from the point of view of someone who has dealt with a life-changing disability for over 34 years now. I know well the suffering of any disease that destroys your body, and Hodgkins Limphoma is one of the worst. When I first started dealing with my bone tumor, I couldn’t sleep at all without strong prescription painkillers, my leg hurt that bad. I was in that severe pain for almost 2 weeks before the doctors even found evidence on their tests to support the idea that anything was wrong.
Nobody knows the pain this 17 year old girl is feeling. Just one question nobody has apparently asked her is, “Would you want to live long enough to go to your prom if you couldn’t enjoy being at the prom?” Nobody has a right to invalidate her pain, or tell her that adding the pain of chemo to that is worth her suffering because of the chance it will cure her. Even if the doctors could give her a written guarantee that it would succeed (and they wouldn’t even if they could) they still can’t tell her that her life afterward would be worth the suffering it took to get it. The ONLY person who can make that decision is her.
And the reason why the state got involved in the first place? POWER. No government has ever deliberately opted out of increasing it’s power over the people when given the choice. Even if they grant adults the right to “die with dignity” – the government is still up to their necks in controlling the situation. You have to go through special psychs to get approved, then you have to determine how you’re going to die and get it approved, then you have to stare down any legal challenges that might be initiated by well-meaning loved ones who can’t bear to let you go. Sometimes you have to do all of that at the same time, while still enduring the suffering your disease is inflicting on you. There really isn’t any dignity in that – it’s all about the government exerting it’s will on you, because it’s still illegal to attempt to end your own life – even when you’re already dying – unless you get the government’s permission.
Screw them all. I have a legally binding DNR on file, along with an Advanced Directive and a Living Will. When my time comes, I’m loading a new character into this game, and nobody is stopping me. My next character will be a female child-movie-star who is a martial arts master and an expert survivalist. I might even add the “assassin” skill set, whether I use it or not. And, since I do know that I carry information over from one life to another, I’m going to be born able to get my GED so I don’t need any government oversight on my home-school education.