Friday, October 05, 2012

Religious parents refuse to let terminal daughter die in peace

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Grace Sung Eun Lee (healthy)
Grace Sung Eun Lee (terminal)
Grace Lee, then and now

Grace Sung Eun Lee is in a bad place. She’s terminally ill with a brain-stem tumor that’s left her completely paralyzed from the neck-down, requiring her to use tubes to eat and breathe. The only way she can still communicate is by mouthing words and nodding her head. As such, she’s made it quite clear that she no longer wants to be kept alive artificially and wants to pass away in peace.

Unfortunately, her parents aren’t willing to respect her final wish, as it would conflict with their religious beliefs.

The doctors at Long Island's North Shore University Hospital said they would like to respect Lee's wishes and remove her feeding and breathing tubes. But Lee's devout parents -- religious Korean immigrants -- had argued that would be suicide and would keep her from going to heaven. The filed legal motions to stop the hospital from removing the tube.

"I believe if you set the day and time of your death, you're committing suicide and that is a sin," said Lee's father, the Rev. Manho Lee, through an interpreter on Thursday

Because when you’re religious, that means your beliefs must be imposed upon everyone else, regardless of their own beliefs and desires. It’s for their own good.

Thankfully, the courts have now ruled in favor of Lee’s right to end her own life on her terms. But incredibly, the challenge still isn’t over, as Lee’s parents have vowed to continue obstructing their daughter’s right to bodily autonomy for as long as they can with further legal motions.

Perhaps most telling of all is this revealing little tidbit:

Speaking at a news conference in their attorney's office Thursday, the minister and his wife, Jin-ah Lee, claimed their always-obedient daughter who headed a youth group at their church in Queens would never willingly end her God-given life and that she had been unduly influenced by doctors.

There’s no reason to doubt that Grace was all against ending her own life before she turned in favor of it. That’s the thing with suddenly finding yourself in the wretched position where staying alive has become unbearable and without any hope that your situation will ever improve – it has a curious knack for making you reconsider your priorities.

Grace Lee has suffered enough. Any further attempts at keeping her alive aren’t only cruel, they’re an utter betrayal of her right to personal autonomy. Oblige her final wishes and let her die in peace already.

(via @BreakingNews)