It’s a controversial issue that has divided countries, is it ethically wrong to assist someone who wants to die?
Countries That Allow Assisted Dying
It might surprise you to learn that there are quite a few countries around the globe that allow assisted dying. They include, Switzerland, which actually has a long history of allowing assisted suicide (suicide was decriminalised during the enlightenment). Since the 1980’s the Netherlands has allowed doctor’s to prescribe lethal drugs intended for suicide to take place if the person is in unbearable pain and there is no hope for improvement (for example someone suffering from terminal lung cancer). Some states in the US as well as Canada, Colombia, Belgium and Luxembourg also have assisted dying laws in place. It’s not always a straightforward process though, for example in a Dutch woman was euthanized because she suffered from incurable depression. There are also cases of terminally ill children being euthanized if they are born with severe birth defects that will ultimately take their lives prematurely. It’s a difficult situation, the child must be fully cognizant of what they are agreeing to and the physician must have consent from both parents. Although it can be a messy process, is assisted suicide something that should be implemented worldwide?
The Issues Surrounding Euthanasia
One of the most heavily debates issues is that a lot of the laws state that to be considered for euthanasia the patient must be given less than six months to live by two separate doctors. The issue is that it doesn’t take into consideration people living with long term illnesses that cause them pain, things like Multiple Sclerosis or dementia. The other glaring ethical issue is that how can you help someone die that might not be in the right frame of mind? And, what sort of emotional and mental repercussions will there be for the doctor that assists with the death? Although many people say there need to be strict laws and legislation protecting vulnerable people if euthanasia were to be allowed, those strict regulations can also cause issues in themselves. On the other hand, right-to-die advocates argue that everyone should have the opportunity to die with dignity and on their own terms.
Although it remains illegal in most states, Australia has started to move forward when it comes to euthanasia. In 2017 the NSW government introduced a bill that would allowed voluntary assisted suicide but was voted down 19 to 20. However, voluntary assisted suicide will be made available to suffers of terminal illnesses from mid 2019 in Victoria. That means that for a lot of Aussies they won’t have to travel to the other side of the world to die with dignity.
What do you think LiveTribers? Is euthanasia ethically wrong?