Assisted Suicide And People’s Right To Die

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AS (Assisted Suicide) forms a controversial issue in the eyes of the public. It can be administered only when a capable adult that suffers from an irremediable illness and wants to terminate his own life with a direct or indirect help of a physician. There are several criterions in order for a person to receive ‘assisted suicide’. A person who seeks this assistance should be a mature and lucid adult with an incurable medical condition that causes unbearable pain, agrees and understands the consequences of AS. It raises the question – Is death a subject that we humans are supposed to influence on, or whether it should be natural without an external influence? Can an adult who suffers from permanent suffering and incurable medical condition have the right or need to influence on the way his life ends? In response to this question, it is possible to include religious, medical, moral and conscientious reasons.

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On the one hand, Those who object to legalizing AS claim that from a conscientious aspect it can bring humanity down in a ‘slippery slope’ because every human being, who can be considered as ‘useless’ will be able to receive “mercy killing” (individuals with mental illness, physical handicap, elderly, demented, homeless). It would be difficult to control the extent or limit this procedure. Sometimes ill people suffer from depression and they might take this crucial decision out of their depression. Additionally, the opponents to AS argue that since a physician has to be present it violates the ‘Hippocratic Oath’ that states that a physician’s obligation is “first, do no harm”. Moreover, it is possible to say that it is religiously unacceptable by people who have religious beliefs; they claim that according to the ten commands, religion forbids AS from matters of “do not commit murder”. There is a widespread claim that the doctors who assist in this procedure are considered murders.

From the other hand, those who support the notion of legalizing AS claim that every person who possesses basic human rights has the freedom of choice. Every person has the right to decide whether he wants to live or die, due to their disease they have lost control on their lives, that is why a person should have at least this right- when a person knows that he is going to die, he should have the right to decide how and when. Regardless of the physical suffering that greatly diminishes the quality of life, patients experience loss of autonomy, loss of one’s dignity or not being able to care for oneself and make one’s own decisions, AS forms a way for them to regain control over their quality of life.

People suffering from tremendous pain who know that there is no cure for their medical condition and it is likely that it will lead to their death. They have lost all control over their life and now want only to decide the way they will die, because that is the only power left in their hands. Regardless of our conscience, our religious beliefs and the hope that there is always progress in medicine, every person is entitled to decide over his body, his way of life, and also on the way he wants to end his life. All on the condition that he meets restrictive conditions that will help preventing AS from transforming to a regular procedure. As humans we tend to be selfish and think about our feelings, beliefs and desires but for this matter we have to think about those who are suffering in their final days of life, and for them death can be a welcome event. They may feel that it will relieve their suffering and ease the pain of their loved ones.

31 October 2020

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