Do you have the right to die? - Doctor assisted suicide.
The concept of the right to die, also known as the right to assisted suicide or euthanasia, has been a contentious issue for decades. It raises important ethical, moral, and legal questions about the value of life, the autonomy of individuals, and the role of healthcare providers. In this blog post, we will explore the right to die, the arguments for and against it, and the current legal status of this right in various countries.
The right to die refers to an individual’s ability to choose when and how they die, especially when they are suffering from an incurable illness or experiencing unbearable pain. This may involve seeking the help of a physician to end their life or accessing medication to hasten death. Advocates for the right to die argue that individuals should be able to make this choice based on their personal beliefs and values, and that it is a fundamental human right to be able to control one’s own life and death.
The question is if it's ever acceptable for a doctor to assist with suicide, so philosophically, we only have to answer if there is any case when doctor assisted suicide should be legal. Let us start by noticing that if you don't have the right to die, you have the duty to live. This means that you can imagine any kind of physically possible scenario and force people to go through that, and we should ethically not allow them to end their lives.
Imagine some new terrible disease. It doesn't kill you, but leaves you in pain which we can not make go away for the rest of your natural life. Otherwise, you're of sound mind. Should we force you to be in this state for the rest of your natural life, or should you be allowed to end your life.
However, you could argue from purely a harm reduction perspective that we should offer safe doctor assisted suicide. Many popular suicide methods are very traumatic both for the people doing the suicide and the people around them. So if we want to reduce the amount of harm being done, we should offer safe ways of ending one's life.
How should doctor assisted suicide function in practice?
We generally want people to avoid killing themselves impulsively, or when they could benefit from other help. So there will be needed a degree of gatekeeping. Likely a therapist would have to evaluate you, and see if your condition is likely to improve in the future, and if not, you should have the right to die if you choose.