General Question

RareDenver's avatar

Another person in the UK is refused the right to assisted suicide. Where do you stand on this topic?

Asked by RareDenver (13038 points ) August 16th, 2012

News article here

Do you think people should have the right to assisted suicide? If so where would you draw the line? Only for those physically not capable of ending their own lives or would you allow more able bodied people to get assistance to ensure pain free suicide?

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45 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

If I want to die, what’s it to you?

TexasDude's avatar

I’m for assisted suicide.

Trillian's avatar

Absolutely people have the right to assisted suicide. We covered this once, if I remember correctly. It is my opinion that people have to right to check out, especially if they are in pain and/or have a diminished quality of life.
I believe it is unutterably arrogant and presumptuous of someone to butt in and try to force a suffering person to remain alive based on their own morals.

_Whitetigress's avatar

I’m against assisted suicide if it isn’t under extreme circumstance, which I believe these gentlemen qualify for. Other wise we might get tons of renegades just wanting to die. (See @fremen_warrior‘s answer)
It’s a very hard question to answer. I’m not trying to be the most high and correct. But as a colorful person, I can’t think of this as black and white. If I had to explain this to my kid I’d have to tell him, “The man was in deep pain and could no longer take the pain.” And what if my kid replied, “So he just gave up?” I’d have a hard time explaining this just because personally, I wouldn’t want to give up if I were in that situation and I wouldn’t want to set a bad example to my kid. But again, I would respect others decision to off.

Nullo's avatar

Suicide is bad enough without getting your blood on somebody else’s hands.

MilkyWay's avatar

@Trillian You’re right, we did .

Mariah's avatar

I absolutely think physician assisted suicide should be legal. If people want to kill themselves, they’re going to find a way, may as well make a peaceful method available to them. We realize it is humane for our animals, why won’t we extend the same empathy to our fellow man? I think physicians should have the right to not be involved if they don’t want to be, too.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m not sure if the nuances of my response will be comprehended, but here goes.

1. I believe that people have a right to their own lives, including the choice of how and when to end them.

2. I believe that others should have the right to assist people in ending their lives, if they have a clearly understood mandate from a person determined to commit suicide.

However, I do not believe in “a right to assisted suicide”. One doesn’t have personal “rights” that other people have to provide.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Personal autonomy and liberty. If I want to take my own life, then the government should not stop me.

6rant6's avatar

I support the right of a clear-thinking person to take their own life.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I believe in the right to die. It should not be illegal to obtain assistance for committing suicide, nor should it be illegal for a properly qualified person to assist in the suicide of another person. Furthermore, I believe that people with terminal illnesses should be allowed to commit assisted suicide without it voiding their life insurance policy. I have no opposition to physicians performing psychological evaluations to make sure that patients are not suffering from some passing bout of depression.

@Nullo Believing people shouldn’t do something is insufficient for claiming that they should not have a right to do it. There are plenty of things that are morally wrong to do that it would be unconscionable to outlaw.

@CWOTUS It seems to me that what you are trying to say is that you believe assisted suicide to be a liberty right, but not a claim right. I am not aware of anyone in the pro-assisted suicide camp who believes people have a claim right to assisted suicide.

downtide's avatar

Totally in favour. When I heard that the judgement was against him, I felt heartbroken for him.

wundayatta's avatar

Not at all sure. I used to think it was a good idea, but that was before I found myself wanting to die because I was depressed. If I had had people around me saying that it was my choice, and if I really wanted to go, then they would help me, I don’t think I would be here. I’m sure a lot of people would be jumping for joy at that, but there would be a few people, as well, who would be pretty unhappy about it.

I’m glad I didn’t die. But I think about my belief that I would be living forever in that incredible pain, and I didn’t want to do it. If you’re paralyzed from the neck down, and can’t do anything for yourself except blink, and if you itch, you can’t scratch; you can’t control your bowels; you can’t eat; if you’re in pain you can’t do a thing about it.

I wouldn’t want to live like that. But what if we were two years away from a treatment that brought my body back to me?

And how would I die? Could I refuse to eat? Not if people are feeding me through a tube. Do I have a right to refuse the tube? Should I have to starve to death instead of having someone give me some pills to put me to sleep, forever?

I don’t know. Sometimes I think it is a good thing for society not to specifically support something, but also not to specifically make it illegal.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’m very much in favor of assisted suicide. Why in holy hell are we able to gently put our sick animals down, but not our fellow man, eh? Animals have more rights when it comes to a peaceful death. Makes no sense to me.

flutherother's avatar

The case in point is of someone who is incapable of taking his own life though he wants to die. I think he has the right to die but he has no right to expect someone to kill him.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Should assisted suicide be legal, of course. If the person has sufficient mental capacity to understand the irrevocable consequences of the act they should be free to request assistance in carrying it out and those willing to fulfill the request should be free from prosecution. The idea that such decisions need to be legislated beyond the basic definition of consent/permission, and the assurance of the prevention of undue suffering during the process is beyond asinine. Certainly there are other details that would need addressing, but failure or unwillingness to adequately define them or fear of their repercussions is not sufficient in my mind to deny someone their liberty on such an issue.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

There are a few things that I struggle with, though (in regards to my faith), that may stop me from opting for assisted suicide. I don’t know…I don’t want to get into it in here, though.

Anyhow, here’s a video of women who opted for Assisted Suicide. After watching it, I don’t know how I feel. She went peacefully, yes. But, it just doesn’t seem right.. (my personal opinion).

For other people, it is their choice. Most definitely.

(warning – the video could be a bit much for some to take).

_Whitetigress's avatar

@Mama_Cakes I agree. Talking about it is one thing. Having just witnessed that, wow. Something just so eerie and unnatural, yet the composure was beautiful. I can’t fathom that someone in a controlled environment is getting paid to let someones life go. I don’t mean any disrespect to those in favor of this. But I really can’t think of fellows with a turn off button. However should it one day be legalized, I won’t be angry. I will be very sad though but happy for them that they will be at peace.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

In this video I get the impression that the guy doesn’t want to go. Tough call.

whitenoise's avatar

I’m not sure. In principle I’m in favor of people having the right to choose their own ending. I would also think other people should be allowed to help.

On the other hand… In my limited opinion, a lot of the people that want to commit suicide suffer from a mental illness, such as depression, that should be treated.

So… In order to prevent people in need of mental treatment being killed by over zealous helpers, there would need to be some protection to differentiate between those that should be helped to die and those that should be helped to live.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m all for it regardless of any govt decisions on whether it’s right or wrong or allowed If I’m ready to go and unable to legally get help with that, I’ll take a big dose or something like everyone else does. My grandma and grandpa were both sick and ready to go, and my mom has cancer – prolonging suffering helps no one.

CWOTUS's avatar

Thanks for that distinction, @SavoirFaire. I had never seen this breakdown of rights before. In general, I don’t think I support many claim rights, but now that you’ve introduced me to the topic I’ll have to read some more.

Ponderer983's avatar

I’m for it. I watched my Father suffer from a disease that no one knew would get as bad as it did. By the time we realized it, he was totally dependent on others to take care of him and would have had no way to take his own life. It was horrible. My siblings and I have made a pact that if we ever contract said disease, we are killing ourselves before we can’t. It would be nice to have the option of being professionally assisted in doing so My only concern with it would be life insurance policies and how they would handle payouts, considering most don’t pay on suicide.

CWOTUS's avatar

Actually, @Ponderer983, I believe that most life insurance polices do pay on suicide claims, but there’s usually an exclusion period of at least a couple of years. So if you buy a life policy today the insurer won’t pay on a proven suicide for the first two years that the policy is in force. I asked that question specifically when I bought a Northwestern Life policy nearly 30 years ago. But since I haven’t had a life policy in force now for over ten years, I don’t know what current rules are.

Nullo's avatar

@SavoirFaire You may have guessed by now that I hold morality (and that effectively absolute as judged by a higher Power) in higher regard than legality. Laws are expressions of morals, but not everybody’s morals are good. I do not hold legislation to be the proper guide by which one conducts his affairs, but one that will do to contain those of conflicting morality.

Ron_C's avatar

I just hope, that when my time comes there is an able bodied person available to oversee my demise with dignity, honor, and minimum mess.

Sunny2's avatar

I believe wholeheartedly with assisted suicide being available to anyone with an untreatable painful condition or whose life is intolerable and likely to remain so. I would like to have that option, because I don’t think I could kill myself. I’d probably botch it, survive, and only make things worse.

augustlan's avatar

I am for it, so long as the condition the person is suffering from is permanent and unchangeable.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mama_Cakes A bit much too take? You should put a stronger warning on it than that.

Leanne1986's avatar

I am for assisted sucide if the quality of life is severely lessened by a disease or injury and their is no chance of a cure. Terminal cancers for example. My Grandmother is dying of lung cancer, she is getting weaker and weaker by the day and has to have round the clock care to do everything she once did by herself. She can’t even get out of bed. Her dignity is gone and she has said that she just wants to be at peace but she just has to wait for her body to finally give up. She has been lingering like this for months.

wundayatta's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I thought her warning was sufficient. I knew I didn’t want to watch it, and I didn’t.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I did watch it and it’s a bitch.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo Every rational person holds morality in higher regard than legality. You are not special in that regard. When morality comes into conflict with legality, morality wins by mere definition (since what is right cannot be wrong, but what is legal can be). Even those who take morals to be a social convention, and thus of similar origin to the law, argue that the conflict must be resolved in favor of morality.

Where it gets complicated is in determining what one’s moral obligations vis-à-vis the law are. While most agree that there is no duty to obey an unjust law, there are broad disagreements over what constitutes an unjust law. If the state is to be confined to a narrow set of powers, however, then it must necessarily be limited to laws concerning general societal concerns and not personal morality.

This is one reason that I disagree with the notion that laws are expressions of morals. Only inept societies straightforwardly translate their morality into a legal system. More able legislators understand that freedom is necessary for morality, and thus restrict themselves to laws that fulfill the functions of the state rather than using government as a means of judging all facets of society.

There are two broadly ethical concerns in this life: how to live with others, and how to live with ourselves. Morality is concerned with both, but legality is strictly limited to the former. The law must therefore allow people to do that which is immoral when that immoral action is self-directed and does not substantially undermine the stability of society. So while we disagree over whether or not suicide is immoral, we not resolve that issue to determine whether or not it should be legal.

This view of the matter is also fully compatible with your contention that legislation is not the proper guide by which one conducts his affairs. Indeed, this is necessarily the case when we understand legality to address only a subset of ethical concerns (where “ethical” means “concerning behavior,” just as the study of ethics—as understood in philosophy—is about the jointly moral and political question “how shall we live?”).

All this together, then, suggests exactly what I said above: that people shouldn’t do something is insufficient for claiming that they should not have a right to do it. It may, in fact, not even be possible to be moral in a state that outlaws self-directed behavior on moral grounds (this is part of John Stuart Mill’s argument against totalitarianism). As such, one who truly holds morality in higher regard than legality may be logically required to take my side over yours.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think it’s right. No one else has the right to live my life, or if I decide not to, to make the call on what I can or can’t do to end it. Assisted is better because if I want to end it, I want it to be done right. I might screw it up on my own.

RareDenver's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe & @Mama_Cakes I watched the video and found it, struggling to find the right words here, but in a way it was nice. She was obviously happy to be doing this and was with supporting people and she went with smiles and laughter, and chocolate.

Mariah's avatar

I also found the video did not bother me. It was kind of weird to watch, though, because she reminded me a lot of my grandma. It’s been on my mind a lot since I watched it, but I guess that’s what’ll happen when you see someone die.

Leanne1986's avatar

@RareDenver I watched it too and found it quite easy to watch. The woman seemed to go with high spirits and, even though I couldn’t understand a word she said, seemed to be happy that she had the control over her own life. Who wouldn’t want a peaceful death like that whether they had chosen it in this way or it just ended naturally?!

Mariah's avatar

The man from the original post has died, unfortunately it had to be from pneumonia and self-starvation.

whitenoise's avatar

Where I’m from, there is a difference between euthanasie and assisted suicide and – thank god (sarcasm) – euthanasia is not even a question.

I took this queation not to be about euthanasia, but if it is, then of course no sane person should deny another the right to choose a dignified and peaceful death over agony and suffering.

Mariah's avatar

@whitenoise, is the difference that euthanasia is in a medical setting and assisted suicide could be anyone assisting?

Unfortunately neither is legal here. I agree with you that that is insane.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
whitenoise's avatar

Yes and regulated, for instance, to excludepeople that are ‘merely’ tired of life or curious about life after death. It is only allowed in case of inhumane, unbearable suffering without an outsight to recovery. (simplified, for Dutch scenario).

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Mariah @whitenoise Another reason that the term “assisted suicide” is sometimes preferred is that “euthanasia” technically refers to a broader class of actions that includes mercy killings not requested by the one who is killed. So while all acts of assisted suicide are acts of euthanasia, not all acts of euthanasia are acts of assisted suicide.

1Anonymous's avatar

Where I stand is on God’s Holy Word: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Life’s not over until He says so.

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