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I am responding to the article titled, "Will aid in dying put some at risk?" (April 14).

First of all, the position that we, as a state or country, take our cues from Canada when it comes to national or state laws and legislation is absurd. Our laws are not guided or determined by what Canada does or does not do. If they were, many of our laws on a variety of issues, including health care, gun control, immigration and many others, would look very different. The U.S. and Minnesota are not Canada and this state will enact legislation that meets the needs and aligns with the will of its residents.

I also find the argument against medical aid in dying in the name of protecting vulnerable populations highly ironic. According to the dictionary, vulnerability is "the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally." I would argue that giving dying patients no choice, voice or control over their final days, rendering them powerless over their own body and forcing them to suffer against their will actually makes them immensely vulnerable. By not passing this legislation, it will indeed be the most vulnerable who will continue to suffer. Who is protecting them? A person's last day on this earth should not and does not have to be their worst. We can do better for terminally ill Minnesotans!

Françoise Willems-Shirley, Hopkins


Kathy Ware (in "Will aid in dying put some at risk?") wonders what will happen to her vulnerable son Kylen when she is dead and gone, if the state enacts a law that would allow medical aid in dying. Would a guardian, she wonders, decide to end Kylen's life because that is the compassionate thing to do? In other words, would a guardian euthanize Kylen? This question shows a complete and utter misunderstanding of the proposed Minnesota End of Life Options Act, now being considered in the state Legislature. Two parts of this proposed law make it illegal to apply it to her son Kylen. First, a person has to have mental capacity to make the choice to use medical aid in dying and a person has to be able to self-administer the medication that would end their suffering. Can Kylen meet either of these criteria? The law is clear and precise in the 10 states that now have medical-aid-in-dying laws — a person must be an adult, with two doctors concurring that they have six months or less to live, have mental capacity and be able to self-administer the life-ending medication. Additionally, the "slippery slope" that opponents always mention is belied by the fact that in the nearly 30 years since this type of law was enacted in the U.S., there is no evidence of abuse, and certainly not any move toward euthanasia. I would ask that Ware take the time to actually read the proposed bill (HF 1930) and after reading it, please explain to me how it would ever be applied to Kylen.

David Sturgeon, Tonka Bay


Regarding medical aid in dying, enough with the "slippery slope" arguments. Minnesota's proposed law would allow only mentally capable adults with a prognosis of under six months to live to choose this option, and they would have to ingest the medication themselves. The authors of the proposed law have been careful to craft a narrow scenario in which a capable adult facing an imminent, grim death gains a measure of control over their departure from this world. Clearly, the young adult featured in the story "Will aid in dying put some at risk?" would not qualify for this option.

If a future bill proposed making this option available for those suffering only from mental illness or for disabled individuals when guardians make the decision, I would join Ware in arguing against these bad ideas. But right now there are capable adults like Nancy Uden who desperately "want the option to die gently and in my sleep" if hospice care is not enough to alleviate pain from her brain cancer. Would Ware say to Uden, "Buck up, maybe it won't be that bad"? Doesn't Uden deserve compassion as well?

The health condition of Ware's son is tragic, and I know we all commend her for her generous and heartfelt care of Kylen. Her concern about what his care would be if she could not do it herself is well-placed: With all the aging baby boomers, personal care attendants are in demand. Perhaps governments should subsidize their wages to ensure good care for the elderly and the disabled. But that separate issue must not detract from the autonomy each of us should have over our own bodies and our own lives, right to the very end.

Jeff Naylor, Minneapolis


Try a radically different model

The Star Tribune editorial opposing the proposed change to the governing board of Hennepin County Medical Center states that it is opposed to "self-serving special interests," and specifically to the nurses who provide the bedside care at HCMC ("Don't blow up HCMC's governance," April 14). Not wishing ill on anyone, but if an accident lands you the emergency department or the ICU at HCMC I suspect you would take a different position. In a hospital, the quality of care is almost totally dependent on what nurses are able to do for their patients. I worked at HCMC as an inpatient social worker for 21 years and retired in 2015. Understaffing is the modus operandi of HCMC's hospital administration, and it affects all departments there.

Rather than opposing the nurses, the Star Tribune Editorial Board should suggest that HCMC is the perfect place for German industry-style comanagement. Rather than have the state Legislature rewrite the rules prohibiting "self-serving special interests" pushing through a return to the Hennepin County Board taking over management of the hospital and its clinics, the Legislature should stipulate that half the governing board of HCMC be made up of elected union representatives. Why not? It works in Germany.

Brian McNeill, Minneapolis


A glimpse of the mystery

I admire Peter Leschak's ability to plunge me into nature, but it's his writing on religion that prompts me to comment ("A serpent of mist," Opinion Exchange, April 14). He rejects his former religious beliefs. So do I, but my reasons range far beyond his. Like Leschak, I deplore the egregiously immoral church of Trump but value the power of authentic religious faith to nurture human well-being.

My faith rests on experience of the inner realm, and I see abundant rational evidence for it. Jesus was an extraordinary spiritual master, a human being. I don't believe he is God or that his death saved the world or that he will come again to, in Leschak's words, "manage Armageddon."

Quantum science tells us that conscious observation creates physical reality. So say physicists in books and articles. I interpret this to corroborate my belief that an inner immaterial realm underlies our outer physical universe.

Various religions have various ideas about that inner reality. We can't know, but undoubtedly, life is not over after physical death, as evidenced by near-death experiences. I like the mythologist Joseph Campbell's term for what we call "God"— the transcendent mystery.

Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, Avon, Minn.