Letters to the Editor

'Real totalitarian'

Right-to-life activist Edmund Hurlbutt Jr. (Valley Voices May 5) pulls out all the rhetorical stops in making his case against AB 374, which would legalize assisted suicide in California. He notes that Cardinal Roger Mahoney has denounced Speaker Fabián Núñez, a fellow Catholic, for his support of the bill, but claims that there are legitimate "nonreligious" reasons to oppose the bill. Assisted suicide is like slavery, says Mr. Hurlbutt, in that it is unjust. The Founding Fathers, he says, would reject AB 374 because the right to life is "unalienable"; the bill's passage would inch us toward a "totalitarian power."

Curious, then, that those same Founding Fathers famously compromised on slavery, while holding that among those "unalienable" rights so dear to individuals were liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Surely, terminally ill persons in great suffering with no say in the hour and manner of their death are being denied both.

I conclude, therefore, that Mr. Hurlbutt is less concerned with individual liberty than with imposing particular church teachings upon the rest of society. He is willing to distort history in pursuit of this agenda, to the Orwellian point of identifying freedom with slavery. Who is the real totalitarian in this debate?

Scott Hatfield