Four percent of the states have now approved euthanasia, Washington joining the avant garde state of Oregon. This is a fantastic increase of 100 percent, a doubling of the states allowing death with dignity.
Jests aside, a life of unbearable pain and suffering is no joke. It is a life not worth living.
Oregon voters realized that in 1997. The voters of Washington agreed earlier this month, giving 60 percent approval of euthanasia.
These two civilized states join three civilized nations — the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland — in approving doctor-assisted suicide.
The B.C. Catholic newspaper, published by the archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia, warned that the “stench of death” would invade Canada.
Such an “invasion” cannot happen soon enough. The terminally ill deserve it. Euthanasia is Schweitzerian reverence for life.
Even opponents of death with dignity admit that their worst fears have been unrealized, that Oregonians have not become mass “killers.” Just 341 people have used the law in 11 years, an average of 31 a year.
Even an archconservative Supreme Court approved the Oregon law two years ago.
Meanwhile, it may be another 100 years before every state in the union — except Utah — adopts humane mercy killing.
Tyranny of the majority
California, Florida and Arizona voters have approved discrimination against gays and lesbians, adopting bans on same-sex marriage. Intolerance and bigotry never end.
But as the California Supreme Court ruled earlier this year, people have a basic right “to establish a legally recognized family with the person of one’s choice.”
One of the great things about judicial review is its ability to strike down city, state and federal laws that deprive minorities of their rights.
An editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle put it well: “The courts have a legal and moral obligation to step in to protect fundamental rights.”
Voters seldom ensure those rights.
Then there is the backward state of Arkansas, its voters recently banning gays and lesbians from adopting children. The zealots of the religious right even reject love.
Abortion battles endless
It’s hard to believe that 35 years after the landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade right-wing diehards are still fighting.
Abortion clinics suffer arson and property damage. “Mobs” outside clinics bellow at patients and staffers with cries of “murderer” and “whore.” The anti-choicers have been successful. They and spineless legislatures have left 87 percent of U.S. counties without abortion facilities.
Fortunately, the people at the polls are defeating those dead-enders.
South Dakota voters affirmed the right of women to make their own health care decisions. They simply do not want politicians making decisions that should be left to women, their families and doctors.
California voters defeated an attempt to mandate parental notification of abortions. Coloradans punctuated the point by defeating, 3 to 1, an initiative granting fertilized eggs legal rights.
And affirmative action, too
Affirmative action foes never sleep either. They succeeded in Nebraska but failed in Colorado.
Ward Connerly, a black who is as “white” as Supreme Court Justice Thomas, sought an affirmative action ban in both states. He remains silent about legacy appointments, affirmative action that allows enrollment in elite universities to offspring of graduates.
Sex worker discrimination
The San Francisco Chronicle is usually as liberal editorially as the city it serves — except in sexual matters. After California voters rejected a plan to decriminalize prostitution, the Chronicle rejoiced that the Looney Left had been defeated.
No, the Chron is the wacky one, sharing the sexual hangups of the vast majority of American people.
Prostitution arrests accomplish nothing. They are traumatic and often violent. They are costly to taxpayers.
It is long past time for prostitution to be legalized. It’s long past time for police to stop arresting sex workers. And it’s long past time for police to stop harassing sex workers.
“Revolving Door,” a report from the Sex Workers Project, found that 27 percent of New York City street-based sex workers had been subjected to police brutality. Fourteen percent reported police violence.
Sex workers, without politicians daring to speak for them, are not free. Until prostitution is legalized and sex workers are protected by the police, America will not be free either.
People need sex. They always will. It’s time society — and newspapers — get real about it.
Alison Assiter in her book, “Bad Girls and Dirty Pictures,” spoke volumes in one sentence. She wrote that instead of fighting porn, feminists should:
“Support the decriminalization of prostitution, call for the abolition of all obscenity laws, back the rights of sex workers … and support sex education for the young.”
Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.