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Terminally ill patients spend nearly 40 percent of their total health care expenses in the last month of their life, which is also when they suffer the greatest. Because these patients must unwillingly suffer vast amounts, physician-assisted suicide, which is currently illegal in all but one state, should be legalized in Idaho.

Terminally ill patients must endure unconscionable amounts of pain and trauma in their time of illness. Incurable sickness leads them to lose all will to live. These suffering patients should be given the right to end their life when they so desire (within reason). This option should be given to patients who know their end result will be death within six months (like the Death by Dignity Act, which allows citizens of Oregon to receive physician-assisted suicide), regardless of the modem medicine used to artificially prolong their life and pain.

Personal autonomy demands that a person be given the right to control what happens in their lives, and this allows a person to end their life when they see best fit.

Of course there would be restrictions to the law if it were instated. Not just anyone off the street could receive assistance. The Death by Dignity Act (in Oregon) requires two oral requests (15 days apart), written consent with two witnesses present, examination from the doctor prescribing the drug, information on other alternatives, family notification and diagnosis saying they will die within six months. These are just a few of the restrictions that make it certain that physician-assisted suicide is on moral grounds for the patient and they make sure that it is exactly what the patient wants, and no coercion was involved.

For these reasons, and more, physician-assisted suicide should be legalized in Idaho.

• Sasha Perry, Nampa

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