20 July 2006

The Right To Die

Ok, I want to get stuck into a controversial topic I touched on in my last post, Euthanasia. Quite simply I think it should be made legal everywhere. Obviously there are certain problems with the idea, for example someone could be coerced into it against their real wishes (by some unscrupulous family member after the inheritance a bit sooner). But if a person can be proved to be a decisionally-competent adult, then the process should be rather simple.

As usual a big part of the argument is from the religious right, who believe that only God should choose when someone dies, but how can anyone put that argument forward when it can't even be proved that God really exists. It should be the decision of the individual. And as usual the religious right has too much weight on this issue; 75% of Americans support some form of euthanasia, but still it is something that is rarely seen on a ballot (the one time it did, in 1994 in Oregon, it passed).

My boss has (I mean had) a friend who had to go to Switzerland to euthanise (is it a verb?) himself. That was a bit inconvenient for him, and also for his family to organise getting his body back to bury him. But what it did give him, was a proper chance to say goodbye to everyone.

Euthanasia is certainly an option I'd entertain. If I end up in a situation where the pain is insufferable, and no solution is available (or likely to come onto the market quite quickly), then I would choose it. If the other option is to suffer day after day, knowing that no matter what, it is never going to get better, the choice seems quite easy. I also think if I was in this position it would be a huge strain on my family, and that it would be a weight of their shoulders. I wouldn't want to be a burden on anyone.


Jonas said...

I won't get stuck into the discussion about the god thing... but in Australia it seems to be possible as my wife's uncle's just passed away a few weeks ago.
He was a heavy smoker and drinker and one Friday he was carried into hospital by an ambulance coughing up blood. They said the only way to find out the real situation is to cut him open, and as they did that, they found that the cancer had spread so much around his body affecting nearly every organ... there was no hope, so they had arranged to turn off the machines.
So they did on Sunday afternoon and 2 hours later he was dead.

Sorry, not a nice story but that's how it can work over here apparently.