NBC News is promoting the death of NPR star Diane Rehm’s husband as a political cause. The headline Tuesday was “Diane Rehm: My Husband's Slow, Deliberate Death Was Unnecessary.”
NBC’s Maggie Fox tilted the entire story into a lobbying piece for “aid in dying,” including a pull quote where Rehm compares her husband to a poodle or a household cat:
“I would like to, in every state across the country, in every city, in every county, I would very much like to see a justification, an allowance, for aid in dying,” Rehm said. “We do not let our little animals suffer and people shouldn’t have to suffer.”
John Rehm had Parkinson’s Disease and could no longer move his limbs. He wanted their doctor to help him die quickly.
“The doctor said ‘I cannot do that legally, morally or ethically’,” [Diane] Rehm said. “He said ‘I don’t disagree with your wish that you could die with the help of a physician but I cannot do it in the state of Maryland.’”
“Both of us had agreed that when the time came, we would be there for each other in whatever way was necessary,” she said. “So when he made up his mind, that was it.”
“He was so brave,” Rehm said. “He simply decided the end had come and he did not want to carry on this way. He could no longer feed himself, he couldn’t shower alone, he couldn’t stand alone.”
John Rehm had to deliberately die by dehydration. It took nine days.
“John said he felt betrayed,” Rehm said. He said, ‘I felt that when the time came, you would be able to help me.’”
Rehm told NBC she doesn’t want that type of uncertainty for herself.
“I will hopefully someday, with the help of a kind physician, be able to end my life when I choose,” she said.
“I think there are so many reasons why people choose to end their lives and I am not talking about people who are desperate, who are miserable and lonely. I am talking about people who have lived their lives and are satisfied with what they have had and are really ready to let go,” she added.
“I just think we ought to be able to create that space for ourselves where we can choose to die with dignity and with the aid of a physician.”
At least this lobbying piece would have seemed more personal if Rehm were the only source. But NBC also brought in the kill-me-now lobby with the happy name “Compassion and Choices” to agitate against "organized religion" and doctors:
Polls show that 65 percent or more of the U.S. population supports having an option available to help people choose a quicker, more painless death, Compassion & Choices says. This is different from assisted suicide or euthanasia, the group stresses. “Assisted suicide is a crime in many states, including Oregon and Washington, where aid in dying is legal,” the group says.
Assisted dying is also legal in Vermont and Montana. Several other states have considered the matter.
"I have no doubt that he was terminally ill and if he was in Oregon he would have qualified for aid in dying," said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices. "He should have had better choices."
In the United States, there's strong opposition, Coombs Lee says. "There is a vocal and politically strong minority that opposes it vehemently," she said. "They have all the power in the legislatures. The combination of organized medicine and organized religion is an extremely powerful combination in the halls of our nation’s legislatures."
That’s the only mention of opposition in this badly disguised editorial.
Rehm lines up with the secular-liberal NPR position on this. On June 23's Morning Edition, they aired a one-sided piece they headlined "How a Woman's Plan to Kill Herself Helped a Family Grieve." Suicide can be so compassionate and progressive, according to NPR.