Free Florida? Add freedom to die without pain

March 20, 2023.  Letter to the Editor.  Author Roberta Goode.

Free Florida? Add freedom to die without pain

Letter to Editor:

My mother was a devout Christian and a lifelong Republican. By day, she worked in the service of America’s Armed Forces; by night, she put herself through college, eventually earning her MBA. Later in life, she received a cancer diagnosis, which she fought valiantly. When the treatments stopped working, she enrolled in hospice with no fear of death, but with one request: “No more pain.”

For weeks, she screamed in pain, crying out for Jesus to help her, until she died in my arms. Hospice did all they could, but they couldn’t make her comfortable. If only she had the option to choose Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD), she could have died with the same self-determination with which she lived.

MAiD allows mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six-month prognoses to live to receive medication to hasten their impending deaths if their suffering becomes unbearable. Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book and House Rep. Daryl Campbell have filed MAiD bills (Senate Bill 864 and House Bill 1231, respectively) to give qualified Floridians the legal right to request this end-of-life option. The bill contains strong safeguards to protect vulnerable patients from abuse and coercion. No health care provider can be forced to participate in MAiD, and patients can change their minds at any point in the process. Death certificates must list the underlying terminal disease as the cause of death.

The rights to self-determination, freedom of religion and bodily autonomy are sacred in American society. In the great state of Florida, we have “health care freedom” ― the liberty to decide whether certain health care choices are right for ourselves, in accordance with our own values and beliefs.

Our governor must expand Florida’s health care freedoms to include a Medical Aid in Dying option, so that dying people don’t have to suffer if their pain cannot be adequately palliated.

Roberta Goode, Palm City

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