Euthanasia: An Inalienable Right (Live Free, Die Free)

People oppose euthanasia for various reasons. Some are against it because it lacks a strong legal basis. Others believe that suicide and homicide are immoral, even when a person is slowly dying or will live in pain or in a state in which they cannot enjoy life. Still others oppose mercy killing on the grounds that those who care for the terminated are saddened by the loss. All of these arguments are understandable. However, upon closer examination, it is both logically and emotionally obvious that euthanasia(with the request or consent of the recipient) should be considered legal, moral, and humane. To begin with, many argue that mercy killing is a form of suicide or murder, which are illegal, and that it to should be outlawed. However, I contend that the ending of one’s life, or another’s at their request or consent, due to debilitating terminal illnesses, or a permanent loss of awareness and the ability to communicate, is analogous to the taking or dispensing of medication to relieve symptoms or to cure an illness, and since these are legal activities, so to should mercy killing be accepted as a lawful means of relieving pain and suffering. Secondly, in cases in which a person requests or agrees to receiving euthanasia, it is often argued that the individual is “not in their right mind”(is not thinking as they usually would) due to pain, brain damage or mental illness, and thus their present opinion should be considered invalid. This is sometimes sincere concern that the person’s true wishes be observed, but is more often a rationalization made by those who feel that the taking of life is in all cases immoral , in an attempt to prevent such actions. This belief in the immorality of mercy killing stems primarily from the Judeo-Christian conviction that God “tests” His subjects by causing them to suffer, and that ending this torment by way of suicide yields damnation to the eternal sorrow of Hell, while if they “grin and bear it”, they will be rewarded with the infinite joys which Heaven has to offer. Killing on these moral bases should consider the following question and possible answers. If the Almighty is merciful, understanding, and forgiving, why would He create a human being, torture it, and punish it for ending it’s pain by way of suicide? Those who say that “our’s is not to question, but only to obey” and that only He should decide when a person’s “time to go” has come, should consider the possibility that the Creator put in motion natural laws that determine when a person lives and dies, rather than deciding each day who He will “take”. This would explain not only why “the innocent” often lose their lives to “wrongdoers”, but would also do away with the need to grievously question for what reason an omnipotent Lord takes a person’s loved ones away from them, since it is only the disruption of bodily functions, and not the recruitment of feeble mortals in the form of abduction, that mandates the ending of lives. If all of these possibilities are accepted, it is obvious that a person considering euthanasia is not necessarily “out of their mind”.     Finally, those who oppose mercy killing on the grounds that the deaths of friends and loved one saddens them should be responsible enough to realize that if a person cannot enjoy life, their presence should not be enjoyed by others, and should for this reason support the decisions of persons suffering from incurable miseries to end their lives. After all, the physical presence of a person in agony should not be preferred to memories of that person as they were when they could enjoy being alive. The aforementioned argument of the individual not being in “their right mind” can also be applied in cases in which a person does not request or agree to receive euthanasia. In these instances, the sanity of the would-be recipient is brought into question by others who feel or claim that they know what best contributes to the person’s well-being, do not want to care for the person, or who want the person dead for other reasons, such as to acquire an inheritance. These people claimthat if the person to be “euthanized” were their “normal self” or were “thinking clearly” they would choose to die. It is in these cases only that the justice of euthanasia should be questioned, as taking someone’s life against their wishes is most surely murder. To protect the right of individuals to end their lives, and to prevent others from having them killed against their wishes, federal law should require all persons over the age of eighteen to complete a “living will”, and should make such a will optional for minors. This document would specify under what conditions, if any, the individual would wish to be subject to euthanasia, on the condition that they may later change their position, and that this new position would legally replace the former. With such a contract in place, other people would have no say in the matter, which is especially important when an individual lacks the ability to defend their rights, such as when unconscious or otherwise unaware. Federal legislation would help insure that all people be allowed to exercise their inalienable right to legally, morally, and humanely end their lives when life can no longer be enjoyed, if they choose to do so.

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I am a logical, open-minded, liberal, progressive, radical, green, independent individual living in the heart of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, amongst apparently brainwashed conservative southern Baptist Republican zombies. I'm tired of the lies of the government and their media mouthpieces and their corporate masters. I'm tired of the cheating and the stealing and the killing. I'm ready for the future. But the only way we are going to fix things is to all band together and say NO MORE! We have to start punishing the rich white collar criminals as harshly as the poor black blue-collar criminals, if not more so. And I'm tired of cults (AKA religions). They are dangerous, divisive, and delusional. We should evolve past religions towards a global humanitarian ethics. We should move away from a new world order and get back to city states with local democracy, power, food, and water.

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Posted in choice, justice, legality, philosophy, politics, psychology

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February 1993
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Mark Baland


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