Assisted Suicide

I believe a free society should allow the right to end one’s life through suicide. A suicide decision is not made lightly since the great majority of people cling to life even under the most dreadful circumstances. Only people who feel quite hopeless about their future seriously contemplate suicide…

Some argue against the right to suicide not on religious grounds, or on libertarian considerations (John Stuart Mill was against suicide because he believed no one has a right to take away the need to make future choices), but because it hurts children, parents, and spouses. Yet an altruistic person takes into account the effects on those he loves in his contemplations about whether to commit suicide… Just as modern societies do not prevent a person from marrying someone disliked by his parents, I see little reason why society should interfere on these ground with decisions about suicide.

Gary Becker post interesting throughout. Richard Posner agrees and makes this interesting comment: “Paradoxically, allowing physician-assisted suicide could (though it seems unlikely that it actually would) reduce the suicide rate.”

Comments (9)

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  1. Bruce says:

    Very sensible. I don’t even know why this is controversial.

  2. Linda Gorman says:

    Take a look at what has happened in the Netherlands. The slippery slope looks more like greased skids.

  3. Jeff says:

    Linda, I agree there can be problems. But I think Becker and Posner are right on the principle here.

  4. Tom H. says:

    Should be a right. Think about how humane most people are with their pets versus how brutal we are with our fellow human beings when life has come to its final stages.

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    Could be problems? I repeat, look at what has actually happened in the Netherlands.

  6. Brian says:

    Regardless of the problems and abuses that could transpire if physician-assisted suicide were legal, it’s not really government’s place to force people to live.

  7. Linda Gorman says:

    Does the government have a role in protecting innocent life?

    Suppose family members pressure a physician to shuffle their wealthy elderly parent off this mortal coil in hopes of preserving their inheritance. Under current arrangements, the physician can refuse and cite laws to back him up. What if that legal protection ceases to exist? Cases in the Netherlands show what happens.

    Mixing the duty to preserve life with the duty to help end it is just asking for abuse. There is a reason that executioners have historically been a distinct job catetory.

  8. Micole Neal says:

    Assisted suicide is such a controversial issue. We have people who believe it is a person’s choice to live or die and then we have people who feel like it is unethical to participate in such a thing. Myself as registered nurse have seen people dying from a terminal illness and praying that they could die and be free so they would not have to suffer anymore. It is very hard to see a patient or a human being for that matter literally suffering and wishing that life would end for them. Though it is a tragic sight and more tragic to be the person suffering, I could not imagine assisting a person with suicide or working with a physician that did so. Some people believe that by doing this this would lower the suicide rate but honestly is lowering the suicide rate that important than assisted suicide. Doctor’s and nurse’s both take oaths to the patients and themselves when entering this profession and assisted suicide walks a fine line between oaths taken by healthcare professionals. As a nurse I am to the best good for my patient and be an advocate for the patent but I am also suppose to heal and protect the life of my patient. So, I feel that assisted suicide should definitely not be legal or controlled by the government.

  9. Skeptical Enlightenment says:

    I support suicide, but the only method I support to enact it is starvation. If you can muster the strength of purpose to deny yourself nutrition long enough to end your life, then I guess you really meant it. I see almost any other method as enabling impulsive choices. I wouldn’t make suicide by other methods illegal, but I wouldn’t personally support them and I see physicians enabling those choices as a line we shouldn’t cross.