Should the state assist in elderly suicide? | The Tylt
Should the state assist in elderly suicide?
Thoughts regarding euthanasia is not uniform throughout the world and is changing.
"The proposal is likely to provoke critics who say the scope of Dutch euthanasia policy has already expanded beyond its original boundaries, with 'unbearable suffering' not only applying to people with terminal diseases but also to some with mental illnesses and dementia.
The euthanasia policy has widespread backing in Dutch society, and cases have risen by double digits every year for more than a decade as more patients request it and more doctors are willing to carry it out. Euthanasia accounted for 5,516 deaths in the Netherlands in 2015, or 3.9% of all deaths nationwide."
There are many scenarios we can imagine where euthanasia could be the ethical thing to do, even if somebody isn't terminally ill. It may be uncomfortable, but death is a part of life and we are talking about extending this only to people that have lived full lives.
If there has ever been a slippery slope, this is it. It was only 15 years ago the Dutch allowed euthanasia for the terminally ill. What will they allow in 15 years from now? State sponsored suicide? Kill yourself now and we'll give a tax credit to your family!
Trudo Lemmens is a professor of law & bioethics at the University of Toronto.
The link in this Tweet is to a fantastic Medium piece. The author, Flavia Dzodan, takes us through the recent history of euthanasia in the Netherlands. She isn't surprised by the push now to extend it for allowing a "completed life" a phrase that entered the lexicon a few years ago. She also explains the concept of "gidsland," which might be difficult for us Americans to understand, but she says explains why the state is pushing for this kind of suicide.
While the overall sentiment of the Medium piece is in support of assisted suicide, there is something troubling about some of the scenarios presented. In one, a 63 year-old-man kills himself because he has no life outside work and retirement is starring him in the face. Do we really want people to end their life because they are seemingly of no more use in the workforce? Or even worse, because they are afraid they won't be able to make ends meet? What doors are we opening?
Everyone has the right to autonomy. We are talking about people making a choice. It's their choice to make. Of course there will be regulations. The state will make sure the individual is not being coerced, is in the right state of mind and understands the weight of their decision. But if it truly is what somebody wants, shouldn't we give humans the right to choose the nature in which they pass. Don't we owe them a dignified death under the circumstances of their choosing.