The assisted suicide law in California is set to take effect in just under 90 days. The beginning date for this to start is June 9. Opponents of this concept are trying to mount a legal challenge for the November ballot. All of this political and religious wrangling brings the key question to the fore: who should have the right to determine when a terminally ill person has had enough and does not wish to continue their life? Should it be the person afflicted, the family of the person, a combination of the two? Should society deprive the person afflicted of making this choice under the guise that only God can make this decision? Does the medical community bear responsibility to assist the patient with this decision? If they have some responsibility, how much do they have? The assisted suicide program is voluntary at the present time. Should the program be expanded, contracted, eliminated or modified in some manner?
At the very top, the California State Senate has passed a bill raising the smoking age in California to 21 from its current 18. The ultimate future of this bill is uncertain as it goes to Governor Brown. The bill contains an exception if a person is in the military. This truly begs the question: if a person can join the army, fight (and die) for his/her country, why cannot a simple decision of smoking or not be left to them? 18 year olds can marry, contract, buy and sell things, decide to go to school or not, and make decisions about their lives that government cannot meddle with. Why is smoking the one issue where government feels it must intrude? Should government instead mandate college or trade school for high school graduates and flex its considerable muscle on other issues involving young people? If Governor Brown signs the bill, California and Hawaii will be the only states with the law. Do we need this at all?
The proponents of the bill cite the tobacco industry aggressive marketing to children as the rationale to push the age back. However, the detrimental effects of smoking have been widely known for 50 years. Should not this teaching opportunity fall to parents, students and schools and religious leaders with the 18 year old adult making the final choice themselves?
What say you?