Assisted Suicide - For or against.

I was reading in a paper at the weekend an article about the parents of a paralysed young man assisting in his suicide by flying him to a clinic in Switzerland.

See link:

I though about this and decided that I am in favour of assisted suicide.

Lots of people have jumped on the bandwagon of criticising the parents, but if I were to be in the same situation as Daniel I can envisage many circumstances where I would not want to continue living.

To have gone from an active person to someone requiring 24 hour care and being in constant pain would be awful. What right has anyone got to tell someone that they cannot end their life?

It’s a shame that a person in such a terrible situation has to fly all the way to f-ing Switzerland to be put out of his misery, and that he cannot just die in dignity, in his own home. I am extremely happy that my country (The Netherlands) has made it legal for such terrible dilemmas to be solved in a humane fashion at the discretion of the patient, and I’m proud that my country was the first in the world to do so, spearheading movements elsewhere to allow a person to decide about his or her own life as he or she pleases.

I figure if abortion is legal, assisted suicide should be as well.

I agree, I find it morally reprehensible that we would allow a human being to linger for years or even decades in a condition that we would not allow and animal to suffer.

Surely the decision should be up to the individual as to whether they believe their life has any further value, not some arbitary decision by our lawmakers.

I can only imaging the torment of being mentally aware in a useless body, people in this situation who want to escape are reliant upon others to carry out their request, the “other” should not face presecution in my opinion.

BTW I am not advocating death for people who do not want it, some people may feel that they have a perfectly good reason to continue to exist, take for example Stephen Hawking. However, anyone who feels that their life has no meaning and can demonstrate the level of mental competency to make that decision should be allowed to voluntarily end their life if they so desire.

Agreed. I see no reason to force someone to continue living if, of sound mind and judgement, they decide that it’s just not for them anymore. Some would argue that being of sound mind and judgement by definition precludes choosing to end one’s own life, but I disagree.

If it were someone close to me, naturally I imagine I’d do anything in my power to try to convince them otherwise – but I can imagine more than one situation where I’d understand and agree with their decision, and do nothing to actually stop them. It’s just not my right, or anyone else’s, to decide what someone does with their own life.

I have already given advice to my children that, come the time when I am a drooling incontinent in a nursing home bed, I insist that they will help me out of their and my misery via a big overdose of some euphoric drug.

When my mind goes, so do I, and I certainly don’t want to hang around on a medical or nursing roster keeping me breathing and defecating as per my bodily functions will dictate.

For myself, I would prefer to commit suicide whilst I am of totally able mind and body…but I do realise that the chances of that are slim, and that it will fall on my children to help me out of this world when I am no longer capable of performing the ultimate deed myself.

Meh, I’ll keep bribing them…:smiley:

I support assisted suicide in all cases where the client is of reasonably sound mind and unable to do it for themselves. I also support an unqualified right-to-die for even healthy individuals with the same caveat.

Of course, this leaves the tricky catch-22 where wanting to die is taken as a sign of not being of reasonably sound mind. Still working on that one.

Right to life and right to death are the same thing. If I don’t have the right to death, I haven’t been granted the right to choose my life.

Interesting responses, one thing has surprised me so far, no-one has been against the idea of assisted suicide. Is the whole Dope so enlightened that not a single person is against this?

I think it is very hard to be against assisted suicide in an absolutist sense - to claim that it is always wrong. It is always possible to create more and more extreme examples where it becomes impossible to disagree, culminating with a situation where the person will suffer excruciating unavoidable torment in the immediate future, and the alternative is being helped to a peaceful end immediately.

But that isn’t the same as supporting legal assisted suicide. Some people think the side effects of such legal recognition are too great - the problems of people who don’t really want it (though how that is defined I have no clue) being nudged into such a decision; the overall effect on attitudes towards the importance of life (similar to arguments many people support regarding abolition of the death penalty) etc.

My bottom line is I support the right to assisted suicide, and I would certainly come down on the side of fewer rather than more restrictions, for the reasons others have ably put forward already. But I also understand how people could come to an alternative view.

I don’t really care about assisted suicide, but on an intellectual level I am against it. I don’t think anyone, anywhere should have the power to decide between life and death for anyone.

It’s a little less black and white when the person doing the assisting doesn’t actually “pull the trigger”, but instead just makes an option available for the person who wants to die. I have a lot harder time accepting someone pushing the big red button to kill someone else than I have just giving the big red button to someone for them to push themselves.

This is all hypothetical, and I don’t actually have any hard feelings for the parents of that kid or the doctor that assisted. I think people spend way too much time trying debating this particular issue. I think the way it works now in the USA is fine. If you’re going to assist in someone’s suicide, you had better be prepared to explain yourself to a judge and jury. If they don’t like what they hear, well…that’s the risk you took when you made a business out of helping people kill themselves.

I support it, absolutely. I’ve seen first hand what happens to someone who was denied it.

This is becoming a big debate in the UK at the moment - the file was passed today to the Crown Prosecution Service, and it could become a test case on euthanasia. I feel so sorry for Daniel’s parents - what an awful thing to go through. I certainly support a person’s right to die if he or she wishes.

ETA: there’s also a case in the UK at the minute - sorry, don’t have time to look it up - where a terminally ill woman wants her husband granted immunity from prosecution if he helps her to die. I think it was even more brave of Daniel’s parents to just go ahead and do it anyway (although I appreciate that the woman in question is trying to establish a precedent/standard on assisted euthanasia).

I hope I would be brave enough to do it if someone asked me, and my heart goes out to those who have.

My dog died in my arms two weeks ago, after receiving deadly drugs from the vet. She was dying, she was miserable. I did that because I love her.

I cannot imagine why anyone believes it is wrong to do the same for a human being.

I had a friend who’s grandmother got Kavorkianed. She was suffering Alzheimers and she knew where it would end. Her husband and kids had died . She was on her own. My friend did all he could but you know how that goes. She was an intelligent woman who prided herself on her ability to take care of herself. She knew what was ahead and did not want to go there. Personally I thought she went a little early, but who am I to make that decision? Who are you.? It was her life.

I’m for it. I haven’t seen any sensible argument against it. I’m hoping my son will help me if I can’t get to Oregon and establish residency.

I’m all for it. My dad was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer in May of 2004 and died in July of 2004. His decline was relatively fast, but awful. One of my sisters and I talked at the time about how our society treats its pets more humanely that people when it comes to euthanasia.

In my profession we frequently see that death can be the end of suffering.

The concerns about abuse and genuinely informed consent are legitimate, but hardly insurrmountable. the religious objections are for individuals to choose for themselves, not impose on others

I couldn’t agree more.

I’ve been thinking about it as it’s on the Washington ballot in two weeks (see state measures, Initiative 1000). As I understand, should it pass, it will require that a person be terminally ill and in the last 6 months of life and that they make two oral requests and one witnessed written request for lethal medication.

I’m concerned about safeguards against coercion, who makes the decision as to whether or not someone is terminal and how that’s verified as well as the metaphysical questions.