I would like to commend Martin Raffel’s “On death and dying: Do Jews have a choice?” for exploring this very important and timely issue of end-of-life care and the right to die with dignity.
My father-in-law suffered from cancer and in the final months he stopped eating and starved himself to death because he had enough pain, procedures, and loss of dignity. I believe the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act should be passed in New Jersey.
Regarding Jewish law, it has always been a matter of interpretation, but medical advances that enable keeping people alive at all costs, no matter how much they are suffering, is inhumane. Every individual should have the right to decide how and when it is time to end his or her suffering. This should be a basic right. We treat our animals better than people because when their suffering is too much to bear, we can end it in a humane, painless, and peaceful way. It’s time to join the other states that have passed this legislation and provide our loved ones with the right to make this most personal decision. I know I would want that option if facing a terminal illness.