Verdicts vary over the assisted-suicide law


Common sense prevails in the Supreme Court, as shown by its upholding of the Oregon assisted-suicide law (Jan. 18). I hope that the same spirit will prevail if the California medical marijuana law comes up for Supreme Court review. Neither I nor anyone close to me is a candidate for either marijuana therapy or assisted suicide, but I feel strongly that religion-based ideology has no place in the law of the land.

The top-heavy vote by the court is encouraging. I am not surprised that justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were among the dissenters, but I must voice disappointment with the new chief justice. Folks like this are in the wrong place. They ought to be in the legislative branch, where politics and ideology are appropriate, not in a position to judge the appropriateness of progressive state laws.





In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding Oregon’s assisted-suicide law, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that “the president remains fully committed to building a culture of life


Santa Monica


Re “Is California Next in Line?” Jan. 18

The Supreme Court’s decision should not be construed as an endorsement of assisted suicide but as a states’ rights issue. An overwhelming number of disability rights organizations oppose assisted suicide because living with a disability is part of the continuum of life experiences, and this bill devalues those lives, suggesting suicide as a cure for disability. Diagnosis and prognosis are not perfect science, and basing a final, irreversible decision on a guess, no matter how educated, invests too much power in those who make that prediction.

People do struggle with end-of-life issues, including psychological and financial pressure that may cause someone to believe that he or she is a burden.

With a lack of quality healthcare for those without insurance, there are limited choices available. Real choices include better access to hospice care, pain treatment, assistive technology and peer support and counseling for the individual and family that foster independence and a better quality of life, not suicide.


Deputy Director, California


Foundation for Independent

Living Centers, Sacramento