What kind of response would you give to the tragic and difficult issue or decision of assisted suicide?
In an article written in 2008, Confronting Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: My Father's Death. Hastings Center Report, Susan Wolf, in writing about her own father's death, confronts the problems that arise at the end of life, and challenges her to consider her views on assisted suicide. Some may that think that assisted suicide is the best available choice when there is no cure for and illness and there is nothing else that can be done.
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This is obviously a massively complex issue, and though I am not directly familiar with the article you refer to, it is clear that this is going to be one of the major ethical issues that we will have to face as a global community in the 21st century. We have proof that there has been a massive rise in so-called suicide tourism, where people go to Switzerland, where euthanasia is legal, and choose to voluntarily end their lives at that point.
One of the biggest arguments against euthanasia lies in the question of whether we as humans have the right to decide on the death of either ourselves or anybody else. If we think of life as a gift, do we have the right to therefore terminate that gift rather than letting it run its natural span?
However, the chief argument for euthanasia lies in the way that so many diseases and old age can strip people of all dignity and force them to die terrible deaths rather than the peaceful end that euthanasia gives them. It is surely much better, the argument goes, for somebody who has terminal cancer or dementia to enable that person to put their affairs into order, say the goodbyes that they want to and then to die quietly and with dignity, rather than dying in pain and resembling a shadow of their former selves.
I personally think that we should have the right to decide when we die, though this is a right that needs to be safeguarded very rigorously.
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