Letters to the Editor

'Forced living'

Hurrah for The Bee for being a leader among newspapers by supporting AB 374, the California Compassionate Choices Act (editorial Feb. 20). This would allow terminally ill Californians to die with dignity if they so choose.

It would be accomplished with a life-ending, self-administered, doctor-prescribed drug. It would be available only to those who faced death within six months and wished to have the right of self-determination. Two doctors would need to declare the patient mentally competent to make such a decision.

Who are we to deny this choice to the elderly and infirm? Why should they have to continue to suffer the pain and expense of life extension to no avail? Knowing that assisted self-deliverance is available has proven to be a comfort for many who are faced with despair due to an incurable condition.

It is painful enough for families to deal with these situations, without the state inhumanely denying choices, no matter what the circumstances. Our high-tech society has demanded that people hang on until the bitter end, but we are finally realizing there are things worse than death. Such "forced living" may be one of them!

Shirley Valett

Fresno

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