Right to Die (VICE on HBO: Season 4, Episode 3)



this week on Vice the heated debate

surrounding the right to die assisting

in the taking of human life is against

everything position stand for when they

are sitting in this

then they can make their own decision

for about an hour and 15 minutes but

she's gonna head out


so how long have you lived here in this

house 15 years in my big house

35 okay Haymitch so what was here before

here was a table yeah but tomorrow I lay

here in my coffin

yeah tomorrow this is your space yeah

so the table must go away you up there

Cuffy yeah I would love some coffee okay

milk sugar milk little milk no milk

okay are you nervous at all nope no no

no it's all people who come around and

have tears and cry and that's difficult

to say goodbye to Aunt Sarah and that's

what they were here it's this special

because I made it myself

yeah beautiful it's on my card to send

around I'm died you want to see the

photo where I bet yeah sure

so we have to go here feel so strong

here so yeah so glad so this come over

my kissed my cousin so first you are how

do you call it in English caterpillar

yeah and then it's the road you have to

go and this are nice flowers but there

are always stones the ugly stones so

it's about my life when does someone

become the butterfly

what do you die when you die yeah I

worked in a hospice or I've seen many

dead people you can always see that the

cell pull out they are happy really


nothing meant nothing matter anymore


in 2002 the Netherlands became the first

country to legalize euthanasia since

then more than 37,000 people here have

ended their lives with a doctor's

assistance but here in the US assisted

suicide has always been controversial

and for years was associated with the

polarizing dr. Jack Kevorkian

there's a suffering human out there

begging for help and the doctors say we

can't help you and they walk away you

think I'm going to turn away never today

the practice is legal in only five

states but more states began to consider

legalizing assisted suicide when the

movement got a new face

Brittany Minard I know that it's there

when I need it I plan to be surrounded

by my immediate family which is my

husband and my mother and my stepfather

and I will die upstairs in my bedroom

that I share with my husband ultimately

Menard was able to end her life as she

wished but her high profile stories

served as a reminder that in most states

Americans don't have that right she said

her goal was to begin a national

conversation about how we handle the end

of life

shortly after Menards death Cristina

Simmons moved to Oregon so she could

have the same choice

Cristina suffers from ALS a degenerative

disease that causes paralysis

respiratory failure and is 100% fatal

when did you start thinking about the

right to die or having a to death I some

rittany manners join on Timmy and that

just shocked me I had no idea

we didn't have that option in California

so I'm watching this going Wow

because I read what happens in the end a

mine is me the only thing you me on the

move in the end or I'm off I don't want

to know more and I'd certainly know I'm

what my kids than that so how old is

everyone okay tell me you're eight

what's your name

Ferguson's five ten Hudson and Madison

in a lemon

Kristina's husband Teddy a former

policeman retired early so that the

family could make the move to Oregon

before Kristina's disease became too

disabling what does Teddy think about

your right to choose and even the idea

of it he's comin is one a moment and I

asked him and they're zooming and the

other but he's like I'm right there with

you he wouldn't mind an ally in there


what do the kids know about what's going

on they know everything or they don't

know they don't know yeah they know

something is obviously different but

they don't know the full scale yeah

because I mean I'm 45 years old I can

barely you know think about it and

handle you know I mean which is why we

live the way we live you know getting

out of the moment of thinking and about

what what's potentially ahead of us

what are these in situ pushing my back

yeah and we just tell what they need to

know from the moment and that's all I

can do it my name knowing that Orion is

a place you can live where when the time

is right you can end your life with


you mean Cristina absolutely is my best

friend and my number one so I get it

she doesn't want to sit back and be

taken care of and be wipes and be fed

she wants to go I'm done it's not

getting any better whatever was gonna

work ain't working anymore and this is

where I draw the line and if you have

that ability power and it's

it's a calmness and a security like like

nothing I'm like nothing else

that's a sense of security that most

dying Americans aren't granted by their

respective states so I went to meet a

man who's been helping many of them take

matters into their own hands

we're way out in the woods in Oregon

here to meet Derek Humphry who is the

author of final exit he gets calls every

day from people who want to kill

themselves I was reading about your

career you start off as a journalist

yeah I was a journalist for 35 years

what were you writing about mainly I

wrote about race relations immigration

police corruption I was always a

advocacy journalist so when this subject

came upon me I got more and more

involved in it

Humphrey started the hemlock society

which laid the groundwork for Oregon's

successful right-to-die campaign and

he's written two best-selling books on

the subject this was the one that got me

into it this is the count of my wife's

death she was dying of breast cancer and

one day when she was very very ill she

said to me help me to die I'm I thought

for a moment that I said all right

Humphrey found a sympathetic doctor and

procured the life-ending drugs that are

now the standard method used in Oregon

he went on to write the ultimate how-to

guide for the terminally ill who want to

hasten their death final exit this book

is a book full of love in a way 25 years

old still sells every day but it's not

just a book of love it gives in-depth

instructions on different ways you can

kill yourself one popular method uses

items you can find in your local party

store this is helium or you can use


kind of now only effect if you pulled

that down and tightened it you would be

dead within five minutes it's not

aesthetic you know a plastic bag but if

you can't get any other way to to die

and you wish to die desperately and this

is as good as any and thousands of

people have used it

do you see this as you're calling this

no I would scrap this and I would scrap

my book when everybody has lawful access

to a doctor assisted death in Arizona

one of the 45 states were assisted

suicide is illegal

we met Howard Glick he suffers from a

rare brain disorder called frontal

temporal degeneration or FTD as his

brain deteriorates Howard is rapidly

losing his memory and cognitive

abilities and will eventually require

constant care when they diagnosed you

what did you find out about the disease

alright so they diagnosed me and I

thought that was a cure when they first

mentioned I was happy and I was also

happy because I just attempted suicide I

mean like every my life was in such

chaos and I lost everything and now I

could like rebuild but then I found out

there's no cure no medicine nothing

nothing incurable untreatable

unstoppable next step death

what do I want to do waste away in a

wheelchair not even recognizing my

children never mind the cost involved I

don't want my children to suffer

I contacted final exit and you know a

lot of people from my support group I

found out from them and they say quick

and painless is helium and you breathe

it in a few times with a gyro Spanier

and Howard is not alone his support

group is filled with people who have the

same disease and many of them are

seeking the same end that's terrible to

state that you have to spend their life

that you trying to live quality thinking

how can you die peacefully I'm tired of

fighting the disease that I know I'm not

gonna beat and I want to have dignity

when I die people will say what a pet

who is no longer living a full life it's

cruel to let that animal suffer aren't

I'm more important than an animal if I

don't want to suffer it anymore

why do I have to but this is just one

support group one disease there are

thousands of patients across the country

giving more power to the movement and

this grassroots energy transformed into

action in the most populous state in the


good afternoon and welcome everyone we

are here today to announce the

introduction of our bill SB one to eight

the end of life option Act

I am the terminally ill cancer patient I

fully support SB 128 and I beg eight

assisting in the taking of a human life

is against everything physicians stand

for and defiles the reputation and

meaning of being a physician on behalf

of my aunt who was confident and

terminally ill and chose to shoot

herself to end her suffering I support

this bill just to remind you you're not

gods god is watching and God will judge

you the bill had the support of nearly

70 percent of Californians but the

powerful Catholic Church helped to

persuade lawmakers to stall it in the

legislature that opposition was led by

Ned Alessi the church's top strategist

in the state why is Catholic leadership

so opposed to the bill from our faith

perspective there's the reality that God

is God and we're not now that's a

Catholic perspective that undergirds how

we view life and how we view a question

like suicide the question for this

society right now is a question of

public policy there's the dynamics of

very very competitive health care system

and when you become a burden when you

won't need cancer treatment when you

need 24-hour care the interests of

society and providing those over the

course of time will go away that places

people in a very vulnerable situation

and the mentally ill the disabled those

who are poor will be the people who are

inappropriately steered to moved in this

direction when we caught up with Christi


a practicing Christian she had a very

direct response

Stage four diagnosis and a child that

they're leaving our husband that they

love then they can make their own

decision but until that happens

with legislation stalled Christie turned

to the courts to win the right to die on

our own terms

judge after judge denied her request

with only months to live

Christie was out of options I think it

is just a matter of time despite what

the headlines were reading a while back

I guess

don't don't count us out just yet but

then just four days later the right to

die bill was revived at the State House

SB 128 was stalled in the assembly here

in California but today at a press

conference there's gonna be announcement

of a new bill that's addressing

end-of-life policies and it's trying to

be pushed through in a special session

of the assembly this special session on

health care financing brought the bill

before a new committee and allowed the

majority to bypass lawmakers blocking

the vote the members of this coalition

here today will do everything in their

power to ensure that this legislature

has been responsive not only to the will

of an overwhelming number of

Californians but to the people who are

counting on us to win the freedom for

them to approach the end of life in the

way that they choose this time the bill

passed in both houses and on October 5th

Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law

effectively quadrupling the number of

Americans with the right to assisted

suicide and that has the opposition up

in arms if you look at what's emerged in

Northern Europe and Belgium and the

Netherlands you know you don't put it

back in the bag we're going to find

longitudinally this will play out

society will have less interest in

expending money at the end of life the

society loses interest because we've

offered you your personal choice to take

yourself out of this particular moment

American opponents have warned for years

that legalization would lead to a

slippery slope and that might actually

be happening in Belgium and the

Netherlands where euthanasia is

authorized for much more

than terminal illnesses man stop open

see he's wound up my lady man Darfur his

heart a longs to be e to the doctor

saying Oh last found earlier and this

shod season and they personally shot

supe TSS we need beer but is over this

book so mu since her suffering is

psychological Antoinette would not be

eligible for assisted suicide in any

American state but in the Netherlands

and Belgium

doctors have euthanized patients for

depression autism anorexia blindness and

personality disorders dr. Theo Bohr a

medical ethicist used to serve on a

review board for Dutch euthanasia cases

he's concerned about some of his recent

findings in the first years after the

euthanasia law in Holland in 2002 the

numbers remained stable and even went

down a little bit so in 2007 we

concluded that our law had done its job

very properly

however after 2007 the numbers went up

with no apparent reason by 15% each year

and also the reasons for people having

euthanasia have become much wider than

they were in the beginning where will we

end up will euthanasia become the

default way to die for cancer patients

will it become one of the preferred

options for patients suffering from long

term psychiatric illnesses

thank you good morning you look very


hi how are you nice to see you hi soon

after I arrived we were joined by two of

Antoinette's close friends the last

years I've seen her gradually losing

herself and I think that someone has to

ask the right to choose her own death

and the way she's going to die it's okay

yeah and I'm just here to support you I

don't even think today is a hard day I

think today's huh sir your day for

celebrate sorry yes it is finally we can

let you go well her friends support her

decision Antoinette's children object ah

spellin stark may hurt her aqua belt a

haughty care for tailed about for her

hidden issue I have a daughter market

with on smoother the tribe wanted say or

inhaler Laver and not ik died on Oak

Hill have stood before lighting in shall

be the heaven not Eastern Unni Bay and

imperiled for meaning door it needs in

cycle from the community that's had no

it incorrectly DF notary Costello its

ambassador here in Netherlands all

barges from delicious burger and

doubtfulness conferred record my

diagnosis of Antoinette is that she

suffers from a long-standing probably

lifelong personality disorder which is

the basis of her complaints

I met her three times intensely and

after this third appointment I reached a


despite his reservations Antoinette's

son ultimately decided that he wanted to

stop in to say goodbye but he didn't

want to be filmed yes I did know you'll

come good it's hard for him to smell a

couple of hair that I'd had to both sign

himself and round guillotine now I'm

kind of an cockney we first say Sampras

I'm all for Victor tsunami those Disney

videos Nate that's co-opted yeah and it

comes of any of these yeah I don't think

autonomy kanesha yeah yeah nice hit the

open ear so the nurse is about to arrive

right now we're about an hour and

fifteen minutes out shortly afterwards

Antoinette's daughter showed up to be

with her mother oh yeah and right behind

her was dr. Stark

yeah this is no joke sense name

it been fun of a doctor check him out

well overall hood education lacks that

she always does certain go she doesn't

need a short tunnel is where he aims it

that you hate that she oak unlucky

she'll and I said her dog for blacks


yeah does it for y'all need to draft is

on the lathe afford to set unless you

die on Keisha for them harmonious bang

lows almost owned you know silver have

gotten yes

Antonia yeah I'm about to take that you

cuts tariff and all these vegetables

yeah yeah yeah yeah they toured for

dolphin here chief Aaron all makes one

feel fun notic new Inca spires at our

high from Ohio okay and it comes under

certain hey Oakland vegetable on the

fish whatever

middle oh she gave the moment okay let's

do it

she was still joyful happy she choose

her moment and she got her moment do you

think this is a new perspective on her

dying to work we should consider as

humanity that we did more options in

future because when your life is over

whether it's physically or

psychologically you have the right I

think to take control of your own life

and death and I think we have seen here

a great example of how it can be done

assisted suicide laws in the United

States are still tightly restricted to

specific terminal cases but as more

states look to legalize the practice and

millions of baby boomers begin to

consider end-of-life decisions the

debate is only intensifying and what

remains unclear is just how far these

new laws will go