The Future of Aging and Dying with Dignity
Post Roe v Wade, Will Your Health Care Proxy Still Be Valid?
Ric Edelman: There is a huge social debate going on in our country. You know exactly what I'm talking about, the overturning of Roe v Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court. This movement is not just about preventing abortion. That is clearly the point of that legislation. But the movement that led to the Supreme Court's ruling, which has said that the national law was unconstitutional and kicked it to the states. This movement is not defined as abortion. This movement is defined as right to life. This is a radio show and a podcast about your future, which means I'm talking about not the issue of birth and the debate associated with terminating pregnancies.
This is a conversation about death. This movement is defined as right to life, and under this viewpoint, you don't have the right to end your own life no matter what your health condition is, even if you're in a coma with no hope of recovery. What if you're suffering from agonizing pain from terminal cancer? What if you have ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal illness where you lose all control over your body, including the ability to communicate?
You can, right now, sign a medical directive that dictates your preferences regarding medical treatment, allowing you to choose to die naturally instead of being kept alive artificially tied to machines. But now, just as there has been a successful attack against Roe v Wade, there are now similar legal attacks underway that would ignore your health care proxy. Wouldn't matter what you want, with your preferences. These legal attacks would require that you be kept on life support against your will. It would allow doctors who oppose medical aid in dying, to refuse to transfer your medical records to another doctor who is willing to help you. Roe v Wade is just the beginning. This isn't a conversation about abortion. It's about aging and dying and dignity. And this movement is coming to take that away from you.