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'Freedom of religion' also means freedom from religion

 Posted: 2:00 AM September 27, 2012

Regarding your recent headline, "Dignity Health officials: no assisted suicide prescriptions," one wonders what century we are in. "Freedom of religion" also means freedom from religion, remember?

The old ploy of "accept our care, but listen to our sermon" is an insult to the mercy and charity a hospital should offer. If hospitals are more a business than care, all the more reason for religion to stay out of it.

Here in progressive, humane, civil liberties-activist Ashland, we don't want our elders to suffer needlessly for decades, so insurance corporations and parts of the AMA can get rich off them. We don't want our babies to be born when not loved, wanted or supported. We even think life begins as it ends — with breath.

The Hippocratic Oath seems to be turning into Hypocritical Law, and the euphemism of the title "Dignity Health," would better be titled "No-Dignity Health." How has the local community allowed our hospital to fail financially? Wake up Ashland, schools, libraries, hospitals are the foundation of the "good life."

The representative from "Dignity Health" suggests that with non-religious hospitals they share "common values." Really? For many "the sanctity of life" means no baby born to pain and horror. The sanctity of love of our elders means they pass with no pain and fear when they are ready. Is this a common value?

At a time when humanity is committing mass environmental suicide, aren't there bigger things to get excited about? Is one's religion or lack of religion a reason to withhold medical care? Many have and will die to keep choice alive. Where's the respect for the law, isn't that what democracy is about ?

Religious extremists in any form are dangerous. What is the difference between the Muslim extremists we fear and the Christian extremism that seeks to control everyone's life from birth to death. What a shame they think God is stuck in the Middle Ages, too.

No, many do not share your "common values," Dignity Health. As a woman I would take my life rather than have a baby born into inescapable suffering. As an elder I will die how, when, and where I choose, despite how hard you make it for me.

No, "Dignity Health," in your zeal to control everyone's life through a vital health service, you actually take lives, and what is more precious, life's biggest and most valuable accomplishment: freedom of choice. For shame.

Leah E.V. Ireland lives in Ashland.

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