From Cradle to Grave
I just read this article about a proposal for state agencies to encourage patients in Missouri to sign end-of-life directives. These are a type of legal document that instructs hospitals whether to perform various procedures that extend patients’ lives.
It’s not the government’s place to influence people’s decisions in favor of these documents. If we want to respect people’s decisions about medical treatment, we should also respect their decisions about legal documents. Promoting the use of specific documents is only a small step away from promoting specific treatments or other courses of action at the end of life.
Another problematic aspect of this idea is that it circumvents the legislature. If end-of-life directives are so important that the state needs to weigh in on the matter, someone should introduce a bill addressing them. Then the bill can undergo the same public scrutiny and debate that other legislative proposals are subjected to.