With the passing of the Suicide Act in 1961, suicide, attempted or otherwise, was made illegal and the same Act made it an offense to assist in a suicide. Could it be argued that the illegalisation of suicide breaches your human right to freedom? Some people agree with the Suicide Act because they believe that people in a suicidal state of mind have a mental disorder in which their ability to make the decision about taking their life is impaired; many people in the world suffer from a mental disorder and I didn’t realise having one was illegal. If someone who used to be fit, healthy, young and active were to become, say, quadriplegic or find themself in a vegetative state and unable to do anything for themself wouldn’t it be wrong to give the parents of said person a prison sentence if they assisted with their suicide, even if that’s what the individual wanted?
In most countries, such as the UK, euthanasia is against the law and classed as a criminal act, but shouldn’t people be allowed to die with dignity after say years of pain and suffering? Isn’t having the right to die when and how you want to the most fundamental human right of all? Euthanasia will always happen whether it’s legal or not, so why not legalize it in order to control the situation properly? Legislation on euthanasia permits assisted suicide in countries such as Switzerland and Holland and what you tend to find are terminally ill patients or people wanting to put a stop to their constant suffering travelling to those countries in order to die. However when their relatives return they often get charged with assisted suicide and face a criminal sentence, whatever that may be. I don’t feel that if the individual consciously made the decision to end their life, under whatever circumstance, that someone else should pay for their decision. Legalising euthanasia will give terminally ill patients, or people permanently suffering, the opportunity to put an end to their pain and die peacefully and with dignity.
Religious Views and Anti-Euthanasia Arguments:
Some people believe that accepting euthanasia is accepting that the lives of people who are sick, disabled or terminally ill are worth less than others, which is of course wrong as everyone is equal. They also may believe that allowing euthanasia or assisted suicide will weaken the commitment that doctors and nurses take to saving lives.
Religion plays a big part in the ethics of euthanasia or assisted suicide, after all death is one of the most important things a religious believer will have to deal with. Religions believe that understanding death is vital in helping to understand the meaning of human life and many people believe it’s up to God to decide when people die, not the individual themself. There is the belief in the sanctity of life or that human life is sacred, and if God created people in his image and gave them the gift of life, he should be the only one with a right to take it away. Also ‘thou shalt not kill’ is a basic rule in pretty much every religion and it can be argued that euthanasia is homicide and therefore violates this rule. Some religions disagree with euthanasia and others forbid it totally.
Summarising and stuff
I realise that the topic of euthanasia and assisted suicide is emotive and that you can never truly know how it feels unless you are in that situation, but I personally feel that euthanasia should be legalised in the UK and that people should have the right to end their life if they are terminally ill or in a severely incapacitated state. However, I do believe there should be strict guidelines and criteria to protect people who may be vulnerable or easily persuaded or manipulated into ending their life.
Thanks for reading. :)