Broadening Access to Aid-in-Dying Deva

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  • Renewing the Expanded Child Tax Credit
  • Tired of the Endless Appeals for Political Donations
  • Violence in Portland, Ore.

Judy Govatos of Wilmington, Del., is a plaintiff in a case against the state of New Jersey, which restricts aid in dying to residents. “I’m not looking to be treated to death. I want quality of life,” she told her oncologist.Credit…Michelle Gustafson for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “A Lawsuit Aims to Expand Aid in Dying,” by Paula Span (“The New Old Age” column, Science Times, Sept. 19):

I wish Judy Govatos every good thing in her quest to receive medical aid in dying as she battles Stage 4 lymphoma.

New Jersey, where she receives care, permits such aid, whereas Delaware, her home state, does not. Yet New Jersey refuses to help Ms. Govatos, since medical aid in dying there is restricted to state residents only. This is a case of a state refusing to honor how we want to live, die and use our bodily autonomy, and it is wrong.

I cannot count the number of my family members who lived far longer than they wished to, and who often died in terrible pain, even with modern pain management.

For those of us whose religious or cultural beliefs do not constrain us from taking medical aid in dying, we must compel our states to enact laws to allow it. This is yet another pro-choice issue that we need to win.

And, as an ancient New Jersey native, I tip my hat to the sage Ms. Govatos, who would prefer New Jersey’s help rather than having to drive to another state, such as Vermont. She said something that I have never once heard uttered: “It would be an incredible gift if I could go to New Jersey.”

Ted Gallagher
New York

To the Editor:

This article assumes that physician-assisted suicide is acceptable health policy. However, there are two significant questions that states should address when considering its legalization: Should it be a medical treatment, and what are the harms of legalizing it?

On the first, many in the medical profession oppose physician-assisted suicide, including the American Medical Association, which holds that it “is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”

On the second question, major disability rights organizations oppose physician-assisted suicide because it increases the risks that people with disabilities face in receiving medical care, as they are already too often subject to unequal treatment.

Adding physician-assisted suicide as a medical treatment exposes people with disabilities to systemic pressures to end their lives in the context of life-threatening illnesses. Before adopting physician-assisted suicide, or any extension of it, we need to ask, answer and understand the implications of such a step.

Diane Coleman
Rochester, N.Y.
The writer is president and C.E.O. of Not Dead Yet, a disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide.

To the Editor:

Paula Span’s column brought important attention to the issue of medical aid in dying (MAID). I agree wholeheartedly that the residency requirement for the New Jersey law should be rescinded. But as someone living with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in New York, I find the idea that I should have to travel to New Jersey or one of the other states that have MAID at the end of my life is absurd.

Every day I manage medication side effects, and every day I see the toll these treatments take, not just on me, but also on the people who love me. Dealing with treatment side effects to increase my longevity makes sense right now because I have a decent quality of life. But when the time comes, I should not have to give up autonomy over how I die or travel to another state, leaving behind my community and my medical care team.

Everything about cancer treatment is hard, but my death doesn’t have to be. It’s time for New York to pass a MAID bill of its own.

Jules Netherland

Renewing the Expanded Child Tax Credit

Volunteers at Common Pantry, a nonprofit food pantry in Chicago. Poverty soared last year as living costs rose and federal programs that provided aid to families during the pandemic were allowed to expire.Credit…Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Poverty Rate Soared in 2022 as Aid Ended” (Business, Sept. 14):

It is unfortunate yet not surprising to see the recent data released by the Census Bureau, which shows that child poverty in the United States more than doubled in 2022 after pandemic-era benefits like the expanded child tax credit lapsed.

Republicans in Congress should take the lead on strengthening the child tax credit — if anything to at least boost their own political prospects. It is a pro-family and pro-growth policy that empowers American parents and taxpayers. What’s more, polling shows that Trump voters across the country support expanding the credit.

Can Republicans succeed on a revamp of the tax credit? If they truly make it a priority, a policy win is achievable, especially since Democrats are also pushing for an expansion of the benefit.

The child tax credit, in its current form, is set to expire in 2025. Add to this the dark picture painted by the Census Bureau report about poverty in America over the past year, and Democrats would surely come to the negotiating table. Republicans should jump on the opportunity.

Paolo Mastrangelo
The writer is a co-founder and co-president of American Policy Ventures, a nonprofit that seeks bipartisan policy solutions on key issues.

Tired of the Endless Appeals for Political Donations

Credit…Walter B. McKenzie/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Where Has All the Left-Wing Money Gone?,” by Michelle Goldberg (column, Sept. 19):

In 2018 I made contributions to more than two dozen candidates for the midterm elections. I wrote hundreds of postcards to people in other states, from lists that I received through Zoom meetings.

Shortly after that election, I began receiving texts and emails … fund-raising for the next election! Most of them were from candidates I had never heard of, and some didn’t bother even to tell me what office they were campaigning for, in which state. On top of the brashness of the appeals, they were often poorly written, alarmist, full of errors of fact. Who were all these people?

Ms. Goldberg describes the effect on me: I stopped contributing, to everyone. It will undoubtedly take me years to stop all the phone, text and email political junk. I know they need money, but I need to trust them, and they have cried “wolf” so pervasively that I no longer do.

Tony Walters

Violence in Portland, Ore.

To the Editor:

Pamela Paul tells it like it is in “Do ‘Elites’ Really Know Best for Us?” (column, Sept. 8).

I’m a lifelong liberal from Portland, Ore., a city suffering from the political dominance of the progressive left: drug use openly allowed; houseless people lining the streets; businesses boarded up; and, worst of all, a dramatic increase in violence.

Far-left protesters demanded that our police department be cut back or even abandoned. Feeling disrespected and unsupported, police officers simply quit their jobs or moved elsewhere. Now the police often don’t show up for crimes in which victims don’t bleed.

Crime rates, including homicides of young Black men, increased in record numbers. In 2022, 101 homicides occurred in Portland, and 47 of the victims were Black, almost all men, in a city in which Black men make up 3 percent of the population. Black ministers here are greatly concerned about the violence and death they see among their young men. They are calling for reforming, but not defunding, the police.

Holding a self-indulgent sense of moral superiority is tempting for the “elites,” but posing is not progress, and “woke” is not the work. Although purportedly adamant about injustice, they seem strangely silent regarding the wealth and power of the ruling classes. Do I detect a whiff of hypocrisy here?

Marilyn Sewell
Portland, Ore.
The writer is minister emerita of the First Unitarian Church.

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