Euthanasia – The Ultimate Human Right

If there’s one issue that drives me stir-crazy, it’s euthanasia. To me, there’s nothing more sensible, considerate, humane and justified than assisted suicide, and I find myself incensed with anyone that disagrees. In fact, at my most impassioned, I pray that those who oppose it die in the most excruciating, painful and humiliating ways imaginable. I want their every swallow like razorblades, their every breath exhausting. I want their final moments to be dragged out for months on end, with unimaginable pain not even an entire field of poppies will relieve.

That’s how much I abhor the people that stand in the way of assisted suicide. I hate them with every ounce of my being. They make me sick. Why do they even oppose it? Well, I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that those most vocal in their opposition of euthanasia are pushing religious agendas. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (England), recently wrote that he, along with members of other religious cults, believed that England’s push to change euthanasia legislation went beyond “merely legitimizing suicide to actively supporting it”.

There are a couple of problems here, first being yet another religious numbskull believing it their right to dictate the rights of everyone including those that don’t share their delusion. Is there anything more annoying? No really, is there anything—ANYTHING more annoying than someone trying to impose their religious dogma on someone that doesn’t share their faith? In my opinion, no. It’s selfish, rude and unbelievably arrogant to assume that your fallacy-ridden, unprovable and scientifically impossible belief system can be forced upon those that aren’t gullible nor stupid enough to believe it. I mean, this isn’t some pastor speaking in front of his own congregation, this is an Archbishop trying to influence the conscience of democratic MPs.

The second problem this Archbishop can’t seem to wrap his head around is that suicide is a right held by all, whether you’re terminal or not. I cop a lot of heat from this assertion, but I stand by it. Let me explain: no one owns us. Not our parents, not our friends, not the state, not even the God these people believe in. We’re the sole determiners of our destiny. Life or death is our choice alone. Am I actively supporting it? No. I don’t believe being dumped by your boyfriend or girlfriend is reason enough to kill yourself, nor is going bankrupt or boredom. In actual fact, I believe suicide to be exceedingly selfish and downright reckless – depending on circumstance. This is where the Archbishop fails to grasp reality. According to his logic/ stance someone committing suicide on account of their relationship woes is comparable to that of a terminally ill patient who’s ready to die. He mightn’t have said that per say, but that doesn’t mean he’s not painting every case of suicide with the same brush while completely ignoring key factors such as quality of life.

Death isn’t pleasant. “How We Die” by Sherwin B. Nuland explains in graphic, yet captivating detail the mechanics of clinical death and what most of us can expect in the lead up, and the truth is that death is seldom peaceful. Whether we’re struck down by a heart attack or stroke, a near death experience can be terrifying and leave those that survive with debilitating cases of PTSD. But in many cases, survivors of such health scares recover and, in a lot of cases, go on to lead happy and fulfilled lives. But what if you’re terminal? What if a change in lifestyle isn’t going to make you better? What if an operation or medical treatment isn’t going to take away the pain and fear? What then?

Here’s the Government’s answer in countries where assisted suicide is outlawed: “Don’t care. None of our business. Anyone that helps end your suffering is liable for criminal prosecution. If, one night, you’re on death’s door, we don’t care that you’re not surrounded by family, we don’t care that it may be in the middle of the night. Death with dignity is a criminal offense and will be treated accordingly.”

I’m not exaggerating. In places where assisted suicide—on the basis of terminal illness and suffering—is illegal, torture is a government sanctioned and endorsed practice. “We’re too good for capital punishment, but we sure as hell won’t put stop to punishing those diagnosed with terminal disease. Die in pain, die without dignity, we refuse to show you mercy, unlike your dog.”

Why isn’t assisted suicide a common legislative process around the world? Poll after poll in my native Australia shows strong support for assisted death for those that are terminal and suffering, ranging consistently in the region of 80% or more. Yet despite our longstanding democracy, the public servants (MPs) of this country refuse to heed the will of the people. Is this a failure of democracy? Are Australians too stupid to decide for themselves? Or, like so many places on Earth, are we hampered by the personal and moral agendas of those that have been placed in a position of power?

 

Standing in the Way

Those that oppose euthanasia always confer “the line”… where do we draw it? They usually speak on terms of humanity as a whole, that it’s somehow a group decision when it comes to assisted suicide (should it be legalized). But it’s only ever been the decision of those that are dying. The person dying is the sole decision maker and proper legislation can be set in place to ensure that remains the case whatever the situation may be. Allowing these people their right to die doesn’t quash the value of human life. If anything, it empowers it, as it shows compassion, it shows humanity. It shows objectivity in the face of moral dilemma, which has always been a weak point of mankind. We’re too easily influenced by our personal ideology that we forget human rights aren’t ours to delegate how we see fit. And I have yet to hear a convincing argument suggesting otherwise, especially when it comes to euthanasia.

Another tactic common among those that oppose euthanasia is to stir imagery of evil doctors or money-hungry next-of-kin. They envisage a world in which legislation does not exist or work to protect those most vulnerable, and in some cases it doesn’t. But you don’t subject everyone to disadvantage or misery just because of the inevitable instances where bad, scheming people do bad scheming things, especially when criminal law is available to bring them to justice.

People Are Hurting

I can’t stand suffering. I can’t stand it. So if something can be done about it, then it’s our duty to make it happen, but only in a way that ensures doctors, loved ones and the terminally ill are protected.

I’m forever saying: “I’m not scared of death, I’m scared of dying” and that’s true of so many. Assisted suicide gives the terminally ill the ability and power to seek a more peaceful end, one they can spend in the company of their loved ones, one stripped of anxiety.

I’m sick to death of misguided ‘morals’ standing in the way. These people hold onto an ideology that’s in conflict with reality. But guess what, death is an earthly matter. If you’re religious or don’t believe in euthanasia, fine, suffer until the very end, but don’t you dare impose your ideology on others. People have the right to shag who they want, believe what they want and die when they want, and any legislation that can safeguard these rights within reasonable and rational parameters can not and must not be delayed, obstructed or prevented.

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2 thoughts on “Euthanasia – The Ultimate Human Right

  1. That’s a topic in undecided on, I was pro euthanasia, but then I started thinking, some of the people that really deserve the right to choose their own destiny aren’t able to choose, because of mental problems or disabilities. So if we don’t extend this right to them, how can we expect it for ourselves… On the other hand it’s so important to preserve dignity to be able to choose… As I said, I’m undecided, my problem is not morals, not religion, it’s equality…

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  2. Many of those with mental disability or inability mightn’t even know what it means, but that doesn’t mean those that do have the mental capability to choose should have their rights withheld. It’s almost like an infertile couple suggesting that fertile couples can’t have children just because they can’t. Not the same, I know, but along the same lines.

    Your comment, however, does remind me of the issue regarding dementia – my worst fear. It’s horrible and debilitating, but that still doesn’t give you the right to end their life. My mother is forever saying, if she ever comes down with the disease, she wants her life ended, as it’s perhaps the most undignified way to go. But at least it’s a disease in which you have enough time to explicitly state whether you wish to end your life or not – in writing.

    For me personally, no way would I ever, ever deny myself euthanasia in the case of dementia. The thought of myself unable to remember loved ones, unable to look after myself, unable to understand what’s going on around me fills me with so much dread that I feel anxiety (I’m personally watching someone go through with it as we speak, and it’s a fate I’d struggle to wish upon my worst enemy, not that they’d even be your enemy by the end of it. Dementia is the process in which who you are slowly dies).

    There’s no denying this is perhaps the most controversial issue of mankind in relation to humanity, but no one should suffer. I always think of my pet dog. He was sick with diabetes and epilepsy and numerous other conditions, and I could see the pain in his eyes and could hear it when he yelped, so we made the decision to have him euthanised. We were all there, meaning he died painlessly around the people that loved him. I can remembering thinking: this is for a fucking dog. Animals are allowed to die in this way but humans can’t? It was one of those WTF moments that made me question the intelligence of the people in government.

    I think one of the main problems is that people assume death to be worse than dying when it’s the complete opposite.

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