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John F. McCullagh

(09/28/1954 / Flushing)

One Woman’s Right to Choose


I have never been an advocate
Of “woman’s right to choose”
because I think an infant’s life
is too precious to lose.

In the case of Marie Fleming,
I might plead for an exception:
This brave Irish woman,
Her body wracked with mortal pain,
Sought surcease from suffering-.
a peaceful rest to gain.

She did not fear that final breath
as the young and healthy do.
She sought a death with dignity-
the same as me and you.

MS was her enemy-
She could not do the deed.
She asked the courts to let friends help
To be there in her need.

Denied of an assisted end,
Marie died yesterday.
I hope that she passed peacefully
and sleeps til Judgment day.

Her wicker casket was borne to church,
She rests there in the yard.
She bore pain unendurable
before she met her God.

We are more merciful to pets
When they face shorter odds
Than the courts were to Marie
Who‘d been dealt the thirteenth card.

Submitted: Sunday, December 22, 2013
Edited: Monday, December 23, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Marie Fleming, an Irish woman with terminal MS, was denied assisted suicide by the Irish supreme court.

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