The idea of suicide is one that many immediately find offensive or sinful. How can any person want to encourage another to give up on the gift of life? Suicide is a crime in and of itself, which forces the individual to be placed into care if they are at risk for harming themselves. Needless to say, assisting an individual towards suicide would then be considered a conspiracy to murder. However, what about situations where an individual is living a life with excessive suffering due to sever life threatening illness, do the same standards apply? I would like to share reasons for why assisted suicide or euthanasia as it is called is entirely fair, human, and just for terminally ill individuals.
First of all, despite the fact that suicide may be seen as “wrong” by both religious and legal standards, who we to dictate to another whether or not life is worth living? I do not mean to sound insensitive, but the problem is, only the people facing the dilemma about suicide are truly in the position to determine what is right for them. Surely this conversation takes on an entirely different perspective especially when considered the position of a patient who is living with a life threatening disease that is killing them slowly and painfully anyhow. It is unfair to ask a person to limit or diminish the quality of his or her life by increasing the suffering that they are experiencing as the end comes closer no matter what.
One common discussion on the topic of the terminally ill patients’ decision to support their end through euthanasia is for the sake of dignity. Those people who are suffering with illnesses that are ultimately going to result in death are also often correlated with a helplessness that places the burden upon their loved ones. It is only fair that if the person is going to die anyhow, that the choice be their own on how they want their last days and weeks to be experienced. For example, an independent woman who has never lived with the sense of needing help from another is not going to want her last days to be spent bound in bed, wearing diapers, being given sponge baths, and all other moments of life that she may find degrading. Why not allow her to leave her loved ones with good memories of her stronger days be the ones that friends and family can honor her memories with.
Many family members of ill patients have found themselves in the worst position of watching their father, mother, brother/sister or friend suffer in torment, begging for an end. In an article written by Sarah Boseley for The Guardian, the story of a 46 year old man named Martin is a perfect example of a justifiable case for assisted suicide. Martin who was once an incredibly active and independent man suffered a severe stroke paralyzing him completely. His only form of movement and communication is with his eyes that can be used to help spell things onto a computer screen (Boseley, 2011). Nearly every moment of everyday, Martin suffers and wishes he could die. Unfortunately none of his friends or family will help him in his wishes due to the legal issues that would arise by assisting Martin in his suicide. He is working on getting legal help to allow him to end his life, a life that he spends in one confined space day in and day out with no pleasure and enjoyment of life (Boseley, 2011).
Boseley, S. (2011, August 18). Man in assisted suicide case spells out why he wants to be helped