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Published in the Eugene Register-Guard, Oregon, Jun 28, 2011

Right-to-die is gaining ground
The Oregon Legislature has taken a backhoe to crush a hen’s egg in the case of the helium hood kits for sale. Dozens of Oregonians have already stocked up with their kits. What the legislators, the FBI and the media don’t understand is that in this age of stressful modern medicine, longer living and degenerative diseases, a lot of people plan in advance to speed up their end if need be.

They may not in the end choose to kill themselves. But they want insurance against a protracted, painful, expensive death that is putting awful strains on the family. When they have a stash of lethal drugs or a helium hood kit it is a great consolation for far more people than is realized.

Evidence of that trend in advance health thinking is that the right-to-die groups in America and around the world were never stronger in leadership, membership or finances. Step by step the movement is getting physician-assisted suicide laws in place — 10 places so far. Other nations and states, most notably the United Kingdom and Australia, are close to reforming their laws on euthanasia.

That a few mentally troubled people sometimes use drugs or the kits to end their agony is a fact of human life. Yet must the 2 1/2 million Americans who die annually be deprived of possibly choosing a peaceful death because of the 31,000 who annually commit suicide?
Derek Humphry, Junction City, Oregon

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