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Good Death : Making the Most of Our Final Choices (Hardcover) (Sandra Martin)
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The Good Death is a clarion call to boomers, many of whom are confronting their own mortality, inviting them to initiate a national debate about our ultimate and universal experience: death. Choice about how we die is as pressing today as abortion was in the 1970s and 1980s. It is the final campaign for a generation which fought for reproductive rights, sexual equality and lobbied for protections against racial and religious discrimination. Canada is a much more diverse country than it was when the abortion law was declared unconstitutional in 1988, but there are many legal, moral and emotional similarities in the pro-choice and right to die campaigns. Henry Morgentaler, the doctor who spearheaded the pro-choice movement, advocated for the right to die at the end of his own life. So did Doris Anderson, the feisty feminist editor of Chatelaine magazine, and Betty Friedan, author ofThe Feminine Mystique.
While feminism was a driver in the pro-choice movement, aging boomers (many of them feminists) are a force in the right to die movement. They have watched their parents struggle with dementia and metastasized cancers, enduring painful and futile treatments, and they are determined to avoid that fate. Having influenced so many other lifestyle choices, they want to control the ultimate decision: the manner of their own deaths.
They are part of a growing number of people whose stories are being shared in a grassroots surge to challenge the law against assisted suicide. It’s a movement that pits compassion against orthodoxy, the right to die against unwavering reverence for life and secularism against religious dogma and cultural traditions. Modern death is a wrenching political dilemma that becomes more pressing as the population ages.The Good Death confronts our fears about dying, charts our declining belief in a spiritual or religious afterlife, exposes how medical technology is making death more prolonged and unnatural than at any time in recorded history and asks the tough question that many avoid, but all must face: How do I want to die?