Live Free, but do we have a right to die? - 346 responses

Mar 10, 2014

The notion that one has a right to live free or die is more than our state’s motto, but rather a fundamental principle woven into the very fabric of American ideology. A question that troubles many, however, is if terminally ill patients have a right to choose when and how they die with the assistance of a physician. For NH lawmakers, the answer is no, as the House recently rejected legislation that would have allowed doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live.

The majority of Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) Facebook members, however, do not agree with the vote, as 66 percent of respondents answered affirmatively when asked if NH should allow ‘death with dignity’/physician-assisted suicide. 14 percent of respondents disagreed with the majority opinion, while 20 percent were unable to clearly define their position. In total, the LFDA received 346 citizen responses, including specific comments from 120 individuals supported by 215 concurrences.

While many in the majority explained their support for the legislation by citing personal experiences with a loved one, others claimed the government has no role whatsoever in such a decision. Remarked one gentleman, “People should have the personal freedom to live their life as they see fit and that includes ending their life as they see fit.”

Concern for where such legislation could ultimately lead, however, was expressed by several respondents of the minority opinion. Citing the legalization of abortion as evidence, one woman added, “I have no doubt it will lead to the decision to eliminate the elderly when they are a burden or no longer ‘useful.’”

Those unable to offer a clear opinion were just as moved by the question, as one respondent noted she supports the right to end one’s life, but struggles with the idea that it must be physician-assisted.

Given the sentiments expressed by the LFDA Facebook member community and with the House’s decision to establish a seven-member committee to study the issue further, the debate may just be beginning.

Click here to see the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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