With recent news stories about people in Europe that are being assisted in suicide for mental health issues, Id like a bit of input from dopers. I personally have a bit of a libertarian position on this matter. The government does not have the right to say you can or cannot commit suicide, voting to allow assisted suicide is not the government writing people’s do per seat certificates, it’s an already existing right. Life is not a gift, it is an imposition. For people with terminal illness or life long disabling conditions, they are 100% justified in their request for assisted suicide. People say a victim of suicide is selfish, but is it not more selfish to force someone to live against their will? For people with mental illnesses who just don’t want to live anymore, sure we should give them help. But if their suicidal wishes continue and suffering progresses despite our efforts they by all means deserve to die. The government has no right to impose restrictions preventing people from killing themselves. More importantly if someone genuinely wants to kill themselves after receiving treatment and showing no signs of getting better after an extended period of time, then they. Deserve the right to die humanely with the least amount of suffering possible. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the US iirc, if someone wants to kill themselves they will kill themselves. At the very least we as a society can make itless painful and more effective. Assisted suicide should be a right for even the mentally ill. It shouldn’t be easy for someone to kill themselves after being cuckheld by their wife, but if this is a prolonged diagnosed and treated issue that has continued to progress negatively then I believe they have that right, or more importantly the government does not have the right to deny them a humane death.
Any thoughts on this matter? My stance on this will almost definetly never change, to me this is an issue about big government and individual liberties.
Suicide is antithetical to the concept of human rights. It is never acceptable under any circumstances and the push to normalize it is an attempt to gradually accustom society to state-mandated involuntary euthanasia.
Seems to me it’d be the other way around: if the state is the one that gets to tell me whether I can or can’t keep on living, then, sure, I could see how that could be used to gradually accustom society to the idea that it’s the state’s call on euthanasia; but if it’s my right and my choice and the state can back the hell off, then it’s my right and my choice and the state can back the hell off.
By coincidence, it is my right and my choice and the state can back the hell off.
A long time ago, I volunteered for a Medical group that wanted to see universal health care become a reality, they were opposed to Euthanasia precisely because of the for profit nature of the irrational American health care.
So I do agree with the Human right point, but even with Obamacare the current system needs to change more so as to run into less worries as the one you are talking about here.
IMHO this issue also shows why we needed universal health care… yesterday.
Stated as an absolute like that, this is barbaric nonsense utterly devoid of compassion and the recognition of medical realities. But the OP is poorly stated. The issue is not “right to suicide”, the issue is the narrowly defined right to euthanasia – medically assisted death – in the extreme circumstances of an incurable illness that produces intolerable suffering. It’s not just Europe that has taken a compassionate and progressive position on this; there were lower court rulings in Canada many years ago, and it was finally settled by the Supreme Court in 2015.
I am no fan of suicide and wouldn’t want to see euthanasia become a part of society, but this breezy, dismissive “Suicide is never acceptable under any circumstances” talk is something that’s easy to say when one isn’t suicidal (now, I can’t/won’t be presumptuous about your life background or whether you’ve been suicidal before yourself. However, if Person A, who is having things good or at least OK in life, tells Person B, who is in the grips of a horribly painful disease or facing unbearable circumstances in life, that Person B cannot commit suicide, that comes across as utterly insensitive.)
Precisely. But there is no situation for which Smapti will make an exception. I’ve been 'round and 'round with him/her about this before, as have many others.
So you can say, “Person A is in terrible, intractable pain and is totally dependent; or Person A is stuck in a living hell, like a slave who is beaten and raped pretty much every day with no recourse; or what have you,” but the answer will always be the same: “Suicide is wrong, you are obligated to live, there is always hope, etc.”
Sometimes there is no help to be had. I’m going to venture that the rulings of Supreme Courts, informed by medical opinions about the unimaginable suffering and irremediable circumstances that some people face, are more valid than whatever religious dogmatism or simplistic ideology informs your particular justification for wanting to meddle in things that you know nothing about.
This is somewhat against my better judgement because over time I have twice been subjected to very nasty PM’s here attacking me on a personal level (and please, folks, don’t bother PM’ing me about this if you disagree with me - I will discuss this in open forum or not at all) but you did ask in a polite manner that seems sincerely wanting to discuss this in a civilized manner.
Well, to the extent that if you are determined to kill yourself you’ll probably find a way, yes, that is true. I wouldn’t frame it as a “right” so much as something it’s possible to do.
See, we have a fundamental disagreement here. I do feel life is a gift and, with rare exception, to be desired. I acknowledge that you are starting from a different premise than I am, but I also want it clear that we disagree.
Are you assuming that ALL people with either terminal illness or “life long disabling conditions” are desiring suicide? Because I have experience to the contrary. My late spouse unfortunately suffered from both those conditions in his final year of life yet at no time did he indicate a desire to commit suicide or to die. Yes, he knew, at a certain point, death was inevitable and he accepted that as reality but he did not want to die. Indeed, he was afraid, even terrified at times, that someone else would decide his life wasn’t worth living and either neglect him to death or finish him off early.
Not everyone with a terminal illness would want to commit suicide. In fact, people who have pills on standby have been know to never use them - in such cases it’s not so much they want to hasten death but they want to have some sort of control and an option to end things if they become unbearable to them.
While I am opposed (with rare exception) to suicide I recognize that assisted suicide is a legal option in some places and where it is I very, very much want to see safeguards that no one is coerced into killing themselves, or is killed by someone else against the patient’s wishes. I can not emphasize that enough.
The victim of suicide is not the person who dies, it’s the people they leave behind. The dead don’t suffer and don’t feel pain, the living do.
As for “forcing someone to live against their will” - what is the context? Is the problem temporary or permanent? Is there a treatment and if so has there been an adequate trial of it? Suicide, to my mind, is absolutely a last resort - it’s what you do AFTER every other possible avenue of dealing with the problem has been tried.
Selfish? Who is selfish? The person who puts their desires above everyone else’s? Is that the person committing suicide or the person trying to talk him/her out of it? Suicide WILL cause horrible pain to most people left behind. At what point are you justified in causing life long pain to someone else?
There are times when death comes as a release and a relief - but they’re rare. I question if that is truly the case for the average suicide.
I’ve been accused of being “selfish” for not wanting my sister to die. The thing is, although she had clinical depression she wasn’t suicidal or in despair all the time. She passed in and out of that state. If she hadn’t killed herself probably she would have had another remission (because, for 17 years, she had had them and NOT been in a state of suicidal despair the whole time) and maybe lived long enough for some of the current treatments and maybe gotten relief that didn’t involve her killing herself… but we’ll never know, will we? That’s part of the tragedy. It’s like the person who dies the day before a cure is found for their disease - that doesn’t mean we should force the terminally ill to hang on and on and on, but that makes such circumstances no less tragic.
There’s also the fact that, in my sister’s suicide note - which ran to three pages - she made it VERY clear that, whatever other motivation(s) she had, she was killing herself in part to hurt other people she felt had wronged her. It wasn’t just about getting relief for herself, it was about deliberately inflicting pain on others. So who was more selfish - the person doing something they KNEW would cause pain, or those who did not want to suffer than pain?
While there are some extremely unfortunate people who live in a state of unremitting and agonizing despair not everyone who has a suicidal episode falls into that category. Not everyone who is suicidal is going to stay in that state. I think we owe it to the suffering to at least try to alleviate their suffering and improve their lives instead of either killing them or helping them to kill themselves. It would be a goddamned shame to fail to save a life that could be worth living.
If we can’t, then we can discuss a possible option - but as I said, it would be absolutely the last resort. I do not want to see an option to die become a duty to die. If I’m morally opposed to suicide I want the option to NOT commit suicide taken as seriously as the “option” to kill myself. No coercion, no persuasion. If I want to go out kicking and screaming that should be my choice.
On that we can agree.
No. No one DESERVES to die. I strongly object to the wording here. I am willing to consider tolerating suicide for certain highly painful (including mental pain), intractable and permanent conditions we are unable to treat at present. But I would regard it as a tragic turn of events, not something someone “deserves”.
IF we’re going to tolerate suicide I certainly DO want regulations in place. In addition to preventing coercion, or steering/encouraging people towards killing themselves I don’t want them killing themselves in a manner that either endangers others or causes unnecessary distress in bystanders. I mean, the guy who used an Amtrak I was on to kill himself probably died instantly on impact (he was essentially turned into chunky salsa) and thus didn’t suffer, but the rest of us were, at a minimum, distressed and inconvenienced. The driver of the train was so distressed, in fact, he had to be sedated and taken off the train and we got to sit around for hours until they could get another driver. Likewise, no jumping off buildings and potentially landing on passing pedestrians. That sort of thing. I don’t want a free-for-all.
Which is not something to be proud of.
Why is our society/nation so fucked up that so many people want to kill themselves? That, to me, is a symptom that something is seriously, seriously wrong here.
To me this is about whether or not it is justified to hurt other people with a side helping of disability issues and proper end-of-life care.
Heck, I’ve never been suicidal in my life and for the most part oppose it due to my personal ethics and experience - but even so, I’m willing to concede there are unusual and/or special circumstances where it may be the lesser evil. I’m a little unnerved by such absolutism myself.
The fact that suicide isn’t acceptable for at least a certain group of clinically depressed people that don’t respond to treatment is absolute barbarism. It’s like if some people were walking around on fire and we forbid them to douse themselves.
Broomstick - I think it’s clear in the OP that we’re talking about those times when “the last resort” is, absolutely and without any question or doubt, exactly what is necessary. And the ethical question of whether it’s right to make the last resort illegal.
@Broomstick to respond with your response, what would your stance be on a person who refuses life saving medical treatment at the cost of immense pain and suffering, being assisted suicide by overdose of morphine(or whatever) by their doctor? In that case do you think the doctor should be held liable for doing easing the suffering of his patient? Even if it was the patients request, and the doctor knows without the treatment the patient requested then their life will come to a brutal painful end soon enough? I’m sure this has happen before, I imagine if I was a doctor I probably would have risked my life to save another person’s, even if saving in this case meant ending their life to end their suffering. It is the choice of the individual to refuse treatment, to what degree are we going to force someone to stay alive? Are we going to force people to take treatments they don’t want?
I’ve personally learned this lesson a long time ago. When I was a kid there was a stray cat that I used to feed, one day the cat was attacked by dogs. It couldn’t move it’s back legs, and my family was too poor to take it to a vet. My dad wanted to kill the cat, but I wouldn’t let him. All through the night I heard that cat moaning and crying, then the next day the cat was dead. I lived with the regret for not allowing my father to put that animal out it’s suffering, the same thing applies to human beings. We can do everything in our power and should to sustain the quality of life for another person, however once we’ve exhausted all our efforts and resources, they by all means DESERVE the right to die. They’ve suffered plenty, and if death is the only change that will end their suffering then they should die. I understand the wording may seem a bit harsh but it expresses the point here. People especially have the right to chose how they live and more importantly how they die. Suffering is just a justification for death, and depending on the situation it is a good enough justification to warrant suicide.