When I’m asked the question, “Should assisted suicide and euthanasia be legal?” My answer is simple: yes.
To answer this question to the full extent of one’s knowledge, one must first possess as much knowledge about the subject as possible. The first question to ask oneself is: “What are assisted suicide and euthanasia? Are there alternatives?” The second question would then have to be: “Are assisted suicide and euthanasia ethical for all of those involved?” The last question asked will always have different answers: “What is my opinion? Why is this my opinion?” If you wanted to obtain even further knowledge of this subject, you could also ask: “Would I ever consider assisted suicide or euthanasia for myself or a loved one?”
Euthanasia is “the practice of ending a patient’s life to limit the patient’s suffering. The patient in question would typically be terminally ill or experiencing great pain and suffering.” There are alternatives to assisted suicide and euthanasia, of course, and they are usually considered a last resort. An alternative is palliative care, which treats those in pain with little to no hope of recovery, especially those suffering from cancer, where the most common type of treatment utilized is opioids.
When forming an opinion on the matter, the question of whether assisted suicide and euthanasia are ethical for those involved is incredibly complicated. For those on the receiving end, assisted suicide and euthanasia are a last resort and could be visualized as a much more humane way to end their suffering, especially for cancer and dementia patients.
For those on the giving end, the answer is increasingly more difficult. Many think that if doctors are allowed to break their Hippocratic oath “to refrain from causing harm or hurt” for one patient, they will make harmful exceptions for others. However, it is important to consider other uses of anesthesia. If we use these methods for our beloved pets, why couldn’t we do this for our beloved family members?
If “putting down” our beloved dogs, cats, hamsters, etc., is acceptable because they are suffering, why shouldn’t we, as humans, at least have the same options available? Instead of withering away in pain for months or even forgetting everything you’ve ever learned or experienced, why couldn’t you have the chance to say goodbye and die of your own volition, leaving those around you with a final pleasant memory?
Personally, I would rather die of my own choosing than leave my family with horribly painful memories of my suffering. In my opinion, it’s more humane and allows for proper closure and emotional satisfaction for those involved.
Although these actions may not align with the original and debatably archaic Hippocratic oath, some doctors today have sworn to uphold a new and improved version, allowing doctor-assisted deaths. As of today, assisted suicide and euthanasia are allowed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and several U.S. States. Shouldn’t we all have the right to choose how we die?