Assisted Suicide Is Not Just a Medical Issue

Assisted Suicide Is Not Just a Medical Issue

Assisted Suicide Is Not Just a Medical Issue

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 15 2009 2:19 PM

Assisted Suicide Is Not Just a Medical Issue

Hanna Rosin Hanna Rosin

Hanna Rosin is the co-host of NPR’s Invisibilia and a founder of DoubleX. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.

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What’s amazing to me about this double assisted suicide story is that it’s never come up before. Assisted suicide, (like medical marijuana and abortion and a whole host of complicated moral dilemmas you allude to, Kerry ) feels safe if we talk about it in purely "medical" terms. Cancer patient. The life of the mother. Terminal Illness. But we all understand that these decisions are made also, if not mostly, for complicated emotional reasons. Nina, your friends read the Ovid story at their wedding because death and marriage are ceremonially linked (Until death do us part). Think of Sati, the old Hindu practice of burning widows on the funeral pyre. A song running through my head is the old American Ballad " Barbara Allen " which Sean Wilentz wrote about in Rose & The Briar :

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They buried her in the old churchyard
They buried him in the choir
And from his grave grew a red red rose
From her grave a green briar


They grew and grew to the steeple top
Till they could grow no higher
And there they twined in a true love's knot
Red rose around green briar

 

Photograph by Getty Images.