Debate continues over assisted suicide for terminally ill patients

Should terminally ill patients have the right to end their lives? It's a heartbreaking debate that hits incredibly close to home for a South Jersey woman. She's hoping people will hear her very personal plea.

It's one of the most controversial and emotional issues that hopefully most of us never have to face. But a local woman sadly did when her son was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

"There came the day at Fox Chase where they said there was nothing else. Nothing else that could be done," Penny Postel said.

For people like Penny Postel the right to end the life of a terminally ill patient isn't about theory--it isn't about political agenda--it's about her son.

"What was so very important to him was his pride when he was going to lose that he no longer wanted to live," she said.

FOX 29's Bill Anderson met Ms Postel in Cherry Hill just weeks after she testified at the New Jersey Statehouse in support of the aid in dying for terminally ill act. The pride she talked about her son losing was when cancer robbed him of being a pilot and athlete and left him 100 pounds lighter unable to even go to the bathroom alone and wanting to die on his own terms.

"He would've wanted to on his own walk to that bed, have some assistance and say goodbye and I love you to everybody. He was robbed of that. Once he was put in the bed he no longer even wanted to be awake," Postel explained.

She knows the bill faces serious opposition from politicians, religious leaders and those with moral concerns. She accepts their views just doesn't think their opinion should've had that much impact on her son being forced to live through unspeakable pain with no hope.

"I would never inflict upon them my personal beliefs and I'm bothered and offended by their insistence that I adhere to their beliefs," Postel said.

The bill was voted out of committee and progresses through the NJ legislature but New Jersey would only be the seventh state to legalize this bill with 37 states so far making it illegal. None of that matters to Postel she feels like she owes it to her son and others to fight.

"I know without a doubt when we got to the last stages, Eddie did not want to live," she said.

This is clearly one of topics where even with all of the information society can still be deeply divided.