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Regaining autonomy: Support for Medical Aid in Dying

Throughout life, individuals are empowered by making their own decisions, but in the final stages of life this autonomy is often stripped away. Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) allows for adults of a sound mind and whose death is imminent within six months the ability to request medication that would end their life. This option is currently not permitted in North Carolina. I invite readers to explore end of life care options–and be cognizant of loved ones’ final wishes. By having honest conversations with the dying, we can begin to understand their plight.

As iconic PBS radio host Diane Rehm stated recently: “We are all one bad death away from supporting MAiD.” For those who have lost someone to an agonizing death, they know firsthand how loss of autonomy can cause unnecessary suffering at the end of life.

Since 2013, 10 states have passed MAiD laws. Currently, Dying Right North Carolina is advocating for MAiD legislation. Contrary to popular belief, the American Association of Suicidology categorizes MAiD as “distinct from the behavior that has been traditionally and ordinarily described as suicide.” Having these conversations that enhance understanding is the only way we can move forward. We must be receptive to listening to the experiences of our fellow humans and continuing the conversation to support MAiD laws in North Carolina.

Enacting MAiD legislation in North Carolina would allow the terminally ill to choose the manner of their death. For society’s sake, let’s give this freedom back to the person in need. As disease looms close to many, I implore you to support MAiD not only for friends and family but also for yourself.

Courtney Howard is a crisis counselor from Washington, North Carolina.