Photography: Physician-Assisted Suicide
Not since Roe vs. Wade, when the U.S. Supreme Court debated questions about the beginning of life, had society wrestled with such a fundamental question: Who controls the time and method of our death? If faced with a death that we find unacceptable, should we be allowed to have our doctor help us commit suicide? Noel David Earley, of Lincoln, Rhode Island, dieing of Lou Gehrig’s disease, had made up his mind. Understanding his fate - slow but inexorable paralysis - he decided to control his death. He dedicated the last year of his life to a public campaign for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. During a year in which the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed this very issue, Earley's activism and announcements of his suicide brought international attention. However, the illness he vowed never to give in to soon incapacitated him. He no longer had the strength to kill himself. Championing choice, Earley died in the way he had most feared.