SHOULD ASSISTED SUICIDE BE MAKE LEGAL – Euthanasia has long been debated and I suspect will continue to be so long after I have shuffled off this mortal coil.
The opposing arguments appear the same:
Against: Nobody has the right to take a human life, even if it is their own.
For: People shouldn’t be made to suffer a life they no longer want.
Assisted suicide is of course illegal in most countries, although there are some, such as Switzerland with clinics like Dignitas, which does allow the practice by law.
Other countries are also looking at the possibilities of assisted death such as Spain who are calling for the practice to be legalized.
In 2006 the efforts to legalize assisted suicide was quashed by the House of Lord, yet despite the ruling the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is still seeking for the law to be changed so that newborn babies with disabilities can be legally euthanized – these cases would only be where a newborn baby is severely physically or mentally handicapped and where the parent either don’t want the child or indeed wish for the child to be euthanized.
Yes it is a contentious subject for mankind has accepted the moral indoctrination that it is wrong, under any circumstance, to take the life of another. It is one of the founding principles as to why Britain, and many other countries, has abolished the death penalty for crimes such as murder.
Considering the moral implications should we really allow a person to legally commit suicide and moreover allow another person to assist them in doing so?
Again indoctrination tells us that such an act is immoral and that a life is a life and therefore precious in the eyes of God.
Whether you are a religious person or not the fact remains that ‘God’ or at least the idea of him or her through biblical teachings states that only God has the right to give and take a life.
Nearly all countries around the world have laws that invokes the use of a higher power (God) and even today people in Britain and other western countries are required to swear an oath on the bible in a court of law… I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.
Professor Stephen Hawking has recently spoken out in defence of a law that would allow for assisted suicide. He believes that any person living with a terminal illness should be given the right to end their own life; but there must be safeguards in place to ensure such an act is not abused.
There are those with terminal illnesses that would certainly agree but there are also those without that would defend the position that no one has the right to commit suicide or allow another person to assist with such an act.
The ethos here is that we are all terminally ill with the disease of old age and therefore our fate, from birth, is sealed and that only God should decide when our time is complete.
Professor Hawking is now 71 years of age and has lived with motor neurone disease (his exact condition being amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) for the last 50 years of his life but in earlier years refused to support the notion of assisted suicide.
During those years Professor Hawking took the view that ‘there is always hope’ and despite a person’s disability or terminal condition there is always something that can be contributed to mankind.
There can be no argument with that statement for despite Professor Hawking’s medical condition he has attribute hugely to the understanding of the universe and today his knowledge has provided a far greater understanding of how our planet and indeed mankind came into existence.
However in a recent interview with the BBC the eminent cosmologist stated in simple terms that ‘we don’t let animals suffer in the same way, so why human?’
Professor Hawking’s remarks yet again give a poignant reminder that this argument can and should be considered from opposing views.
“I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives and those who help them should be free from prosecution.
But there must be safeguards that the person concerned genuinely wants to end their life and they are not being pressurised into it or have it done without their knowledge or consent, as would have been the case with me.” Professor Stephen Hawking
This ideology now challenges the ideologies of those that oppose euthanasia in that what gives them the right to determine the fate of another – it could also be argued that a healthy person who opposes euthanasia cannot fully comprehend the pain, suffering and misery experienced by those with a terminal illness and simply want to end the pain; they do after all fully understand their fate.
Whilst Professor Hawking supports the right of anyone with a terminal illness to end their own lives he did point out that doing such thing would be a great mistake for there is always hope; even in the face of adversity there are medical advancement being made and who knows one day medicine would have advanced to a stage where many terminal disease might be cured.
Assisted suicide, assisted death or euthanasia, whichever term you prefer, ultimately results in a life being taken at an earlier stage. However should we have the right to force people with terminal illnesses, especially when it involves so much suffering, to live that life regardless of their personal wishes?