Should suicide be a human right?

So nice to have you aboard. Yes, there are professionals that are excellent healers. There was a cancer doctor whose book I read was a true healer. He said to catch your doctor not looking and give him a hug, if he don’t hug you back get another doctor. People and healers are all unique. I remember a girl whose boyfriend had just killed himself. She was destroyed. It took months to get her back into life knowing it was not her fault. She had called her doctor who prescribed some pills, but pills don’t take away the pain of grief. It is love that heals.

What tripe.

“Cancer Doctors” do the best that they can manage, regardless of how many hugs they give or receive. Cancer does not respond to hugs, or love, or true healing.

I have lost loved ones, and have used the pathetic excuse of false hope as a shield to ward myself from having to share their fear. I will never lose the shame of it.

Denying death when it comes, as it must always come, is not courage but abject cowardice. There is nothing easier than encouraging others to live; helping others to die when it is their time is the hardest task.


Even in the case of mental illness - if you’ve been depressed for years, treated, have no hope you are no really living your life and you are tearing apart the lives of those close to you. If suicide were an honorable out - seen as a non-selfish way to end the pain not only for yourself but for those around you - life would be so much better for families suffering.

(My grandmother killed herself 45 years ago after suffering with horrible depression for more than eight years - it hit bad at eight because at that time PPD was added to whatever baseline depression she had previously. It was absolutely the right thing to do. Her daughter has been suffering for depression for 30 years - all the modern treatment has basically turned her into a medicated zombie.)

Depression can be cured. It is being cured by alternative methods not by creating medical zombies. It is basically a disease of self-confidence. Therapists are using art, acting and other forms of therapy. It is a disease of disliking oneself. Even affirmations have been known to cure depression. Do I hear you saying that your grandmother’s suicide was the right thing to do? I have no answer for that except you don’t know what you are saying.

Not all depression can be cured. Not all therapy or medication is the answer. People have the right to kill themselves if their situations are dire enough for long enough. Period.

Not true on all accounts. I think you know that.

This is entirely irrelevant to the subject. Drop it now.

This is also off-topic. Your views on depression and medicine and therapy are not related to this discussion. The topic is whether or not people have a right to kill themselves and perhaps whether or not the state should be involved in that decision. There are ways in which mental health treatments are related to the thread topic, but these aren’t it. Drop the hijack.

7 billion people and counting and life is supposedly still valuable. At around how many billion do you reckon that value will start getting lost?

I agree with the OP, I’ve never understood how people supposedly have a right to life, but no right to death. Sure it’s inevitable but why should we not be able to choose the place, time and method simply as a matter of course, even if not suicidal per se?

It’s hard not to consider suicidally depressed people as a drain on society. They are not productive, they cost money in the way of healthcare, and they can be quite a drag on those around them even if they try not to be. It seems silly to force them to play the game when they just want to quit.

The argument that anyone able-bodied who really wants to commit suicide, can, is weak and I would say selfish in more ways than it’s often suggested suicide itself is.
For example, let’s say you’re a train driver, and near the end of one night-shift as you exit a tunnel you see a face as someone jumps on the tracks and dies just under the windshield you’re sitting behind. How do you feel about being made a murderer? Why couldn’t that person have made a more reasonable decision about how to die?
Or picture the hotel cleaning lady on Monday morning, cleans up the bedroom, opens the bathroom and there’s a body hanging lifelessly. Did she deserve to have her own psyche wrecked like that? What about the guys who clean blood and guts off the pavements from jumpers? These are functioning members of society having to deal with messes that need not have been.
Or… let’s say you’re a paramedic who’s been called out to attend to someone who jumped off a bridge and caused a major pile-up, and you get to attend to the jumper who’s in pretty bad shape but will survive. You patch him up best you can and send him off to hospital. Two weeks later you’re called out to another jumper case… turns out to be the same guy, and this time he got it right. How do you feel about your job now? (you can be a nurse at the hospital, or the doctor or any one of dozens of people who wasted their time and expertise on someone who didn’t want it)

Contrast with this example: a man decides he’s had enough of life, goes to the “suicide institution”, takes anti-depressants and undergoes therapy for some stipulated time, still hates life, signs a consent contract and after a further 2-3 week cool-off/reconsideration period is served a mix of morphine, barbiturates and alcohol. His deathbed is provided, the people who walk in and find the corpse are well aware of their job descriptions. His family and friends were well notified, there was no traumatic surprise, it was an event like a surgical operation only the patient was guaranteed not to make it.

Yes, as well as 40 years of treatment for my aunt has produced no cure. 30 years of treatment for me has produced no cure (I’m far more functional and not terribly suicidal). My sister is on 30 years with no cure. And I know that there are plenty of dopers on this board who have battled for years with - no cure.

I’m fascinated about this idea of curing depression, because it has never been cured in my family. Medication, therapy, electroshock.


I have been shut out here so look for a PM.

I know the exact opposite, just as I said.

The only thing that really makes the question tricky for me is old or ill people who would otherwise like to continue living but feel they’re an unnecessary burden on their relatives. I’m not think of coercion so much as self-sacrifice. I can honestly see this being a significant problem. This is a practical issue, though. I think anyone who truly (and not just temporarily) feels they’d rather die, for their own reasons and not to benefit anyone else, should be allowed that option. But I do think rights have to balanced against practical issues.

If you take a “right” to mean something written in law as a “right” then you’re using circular reasoning by using the content of the law to explain the contents of the law. If you take a “right” to be something more intrinsic than that, what the law says has no bearing on the matter, anyway.

Most of the rest of what you right is pure, unsupported opinion, wielded with entirely unjustified certainty. Basing your answers to such important questions on fantasy is… not wise.

I hear this a lot. Yeah, it can be selfish. But it can also be incredibly selfish to guilt someone into continuing to live in pain purely for your own pleasure.

Ethically speaking you may have a point, but legally speaking, not in the US. Property is a legal fiction: that is, it’s something that exists because it’s defined by law. By law, you can’t own yourself, because you can’t sell yourself. You are not your own property.

But as a humanist, I agree with the sentiment. You and you alone should be the final arbiter of whether your life is of value to you or not.

Practically speaking, we all have the ability to kill ourselves. There’s no way to keep us from doing so. What we don’t have the right to is assistance or having someone else do the deed for us – of particular importance to those in wasting illnesses.

You are entitled to your opinions in this matter but you have no right to impose your mythology on those who disagree. There are no facts here, only opinions.

I think you completely missed the sarcasm there. The point was, there’s a big difference between my tossing your wallet off the cliff and my tossing my wallet of the cliff.

Now, while I’ve been arguing against lekatt’s points, I’m going to turn around a bit. I believe that society has not just the right and ability but the responsibility of doing all that is possible to help people through bouts of depression or finding other ways of dealing with the problems that would lead to suicide. I worry about the legal ramifications of making it a right (or even a privilege), and I worry about those who would turn to suicide for anything but a last alternative. (By definition it will be the last alternative, if taken.)

I agree with those who advocate counselling to try to deal with life, viewing suicide as the untenable option.

But when it comes down to it, for myself, it’s my values that matter. There are circumstances under which I’d rather throw in the towel. (A friend’s slow but all-too-rapid demise by Alzheimers is a good example – there will be no cure in time for her.) If I decide to go and am still mentally and physically capable, after settling my affairs andkissing my wife goodbye, I’ll just get a canister of nitrous oxide, fill a garbage bag and tie it over my head. Chances are small it’ll come to that (I hope!)

There’s a big difference between a reasonable personal policy and a good public policy. I believe the public policy should be oriented towards life, not death. However, I can imagine there might be a process that meets my concerns, making assisted suicide possible, but focused first on every reasonable attempt to preserving life.

Neither do you. You have no idea of the pain that comes from watching someone you love cry for relief as their body wastes away, riddled by cancer. Some types of cancer lead to intense pain that cannot be treated successfully without leaving the patient virtually unconscious.
You have no idea of the pain of watching your life partner or your child suffer from a neurological disorder like ALS that leaves the mind clear but ravages the body, putting a once-vibrant human into a motionless shell.
You have no idea of the suffering that comes from watching the personality of someone you deeply care for and respect deteriorate as they fight an Alzheimer-like terminal illness that ravages their mind and dignity to the point they don’t recognize their own families and must have the most intimate body care done for them.

Yes, some suicide attempts are made as a way to manipulate others ("You were mean to me and NOW you’ll be sorry! Hah!!) Yes, those people need extensive counseling.
But if you think the pain of losing someone you love because they died by their own hand is bad, please know it’s just a small fraction of the agony you’ll go through when someone dear to you is begging for the relief of death.
These situations mean suicide is about unrelenting physical pain. Suicide is about the loss of privacy and personal dignity. Suicide is about making hard decisions when the failing body and deteriorating mind are destroying the soul.

When my dad decided enough was enough and quit taking chemo he lasted ten days. They were not pleasant.

When Becky (age 16) was dumped by Jeff bcuz OMG he saw her with his cousins friends bff at Taco Bell with Tyson who she doesn’t even like and just wants to die!

Humans are complicated. There is no simple answer.

Right, who will judge those who want to die and say “you, but not you.”

I talked to a young man with stage four cancer. He had been sent home to die. We talked about death and his cancer went into recession. He is now cancer free. Is will a part of disease, can it make a difference. I have talked to many that want to die because of various reasons. Who should die? Is there a time when there is no hope. Never.

I blame Obama.

Damn. You mean all I had to do was call you up and you could have cured my uncle? Gee, why didn’t I think of that!

You weren’t thinking silly at that time?