Death on Demand – the Law in Oregon, on Ballot in
Massachusetts, a Hot Radio Show
Dramatic one-hour radio show by Tom Ashbrook has
already generated 230 comments - available online
19, 2012 – Assisted suicide, euthanasia, right to die, death with
dignity – or whatever it’s called -is an unpleasant topic that most had
rather not discuss but it grabs the attention of many seniors. Tom
Ashbrook of the radio show “On Point,” has lots of people talking,
mostly about the voting taking place in Massachusetts that may make it
“Death on Demand,” is the name of his show and much
of it is about the law that already exists in Oregon. The Massachusetts
law will work about the same – it will allow physicians to prescribe
medication, at a terminally ill patient’s request, to end their own
The U.S. debate is also reviving the discussion
around the world.
“Since 1999, when an American court gave Jack
Kevorkian a lengthy jail sentence after he admitted helping 130 patients
to die, a big change has quietly taken place,” notes the Economist
in an article appearing in print tomorrow.
“Next month voters in Massachusetts will decide
whether a terminally ill patient, with less than six months to live,
will be able to ask for a doctor’s help in committing suicide. If, as
expected, the vote goes in favor of the proposal, the state will become
the third in America to liberalize its laws.”
The Economist points out that assisted
suicide is already permitted in seven countries and is now being
considered in New Zealand, Quebec, Australia and Britain.
"It is to be hoped that the current wave of
liberalization will continue, for those who suffer at the end of their
lives have been too long denied the right to an easeful death," says the
“Death comes in many ways. Some beautiful. Some
terrible. For some, unbearable,” says radio commentator Ashbrook, whose
show is heard mostly on National Public Radio (NPR).
“Some states have voted to let doctors help ease
the way. The language itself is a battlefield: right to die, ‘death with
dignity,’ assisted suicide," he says about the show.
“A lethal prescription of barbiturates – carefully
considered, sipped yourself – and you’re gone. It’s legal in Oregon,
Washington. Failed legalization efforts in California, Maine, Hawaii.
Now, it’s on the ballot in Massachusetts."
The guests on his show are the following:
Barbara Coombs Lee,
president of Compassion & Choices, a nonprofit organization dedicated to
expanding and protecting the rights of the terminally ill.
professor of anesthesia and professor of medical ethics in the
Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical
director of the Medical Ethics and Human Rights Programs at Boston
University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, where he is also a
Professor of Psychiatry, Family Medicine, Health Law, Bioethics and
The one hour audio show has quickly generated 230
comments on Ashbrook’s website.
Most of those who have an interest in this topic
are probably senior citizens.