Commentary: She supports death with dignity

Bobbi JacobsenI support the Compassionate Care Act and testified before the Senate health committee in favor of the bill last week.

I was saddened to hear the testimony from members of the disability community who completely distorted the purpose and process of medical aid in dying. Living with an ALS diagnosis for 20 years now, I have seen so much end-of-life suffering. Most people are not aware that people with ALS suffer an agonizing death; as one organ after another shut downs until we basically suffocate to death. Until now, those who could not face this tortuous necrosis and have chosen to end their own lives, have been in violation of the law.

They’ve had to act in secret for fear of risking their family’s safety. By contrast, the Compassionate Care Act would authorize terminally ill people, like me, with the help of my doctor, to die peacefully, on my own terms, if and when I am ready, with my loved ones by my side.

Fears of abuse of medical aid in dying come from a very real emotional place. But, the fears are unfounded. At the hearing March 16, Sen. Chris Eaton submitted a letter from Disability Rights Oregon (DRO), the nonprofit charged with protecting the civil rights of the disabled community in the state of Oregon, which states that it has not received even one complaint related to the Oregon Death with Dignity Act in the 18 years it has been in effect.

I thank Access Press for continuing this conversation.

–Bobbi Jacobsen, Richfield