This was a great article and I think that everyone interested in the topic should read it.
I myself have long ago made my decision on this matter. While I do not know what I would want in the event that I reached hospice care level; I would want the right to choose for myself how I would want to die.
So, let me back up a bit and clarify some things.
First, I think the person needs to be of sound mind. I do not think it is appropriate to allow a minor, some one who is mentally ill or other wise considered legally incompedent to make this choice. Nor do I think a guardian should be able to make this choice for them. In these cases, there is no clear way to be sure what these individuals would want and thus allowing nature to run its natural course should be the default.
Secondly, there is a clear difference between assisted suicide and murder. The distinguishing factor being consent. I do not believe that anyone should ever have the right to choose to end the life of another living being.
Lastly, let’s face the facts. Assisted suicide happens every day. When a doctor prescribes morphine and a pharmacy dispenses 30-60cc of super concentrated med, it is legal. But if that patient chooses to commit suicide, how is that different then a doctor or nurse directly administering that med? I just dont’ see the difference. During hospice care, morphine is used to provide comfort. However, it shortens the patient’s life. Is this not assisted suicide? What is the distinction?
If a person chooses to die at home, cared by their family, they have the ability to choose suicide. If they choose to die in a health care setting they loose that choice. If all humans are equal and all are suppose to be allowed to self determine, why do some have a choice and others don’t?
Now I have to consider that there are times that health care providers are required by law to allow a patient to die even if they have the means to save them. A living will or a DNR express a patient’s wishes to be allowed to die. Why can you decide ahead, but not in the moment?
As a side note: Committing suicide is legal. It only becomes illegal if you have someone help you…
While I agree with assisted suicide on an ethical level, I think that implamentation of legalization presents some challenges. And doing so makes it more likely that someone will take advantage and force the choice of death on another. So. like most things in life, this in not a black and white issue.