Something I’ve been thinking about lately is the right to die. Specifically, I’m thinking about terminally ill patients who are endlessly suffering and wish to end that suffering by ending their life. This has been a tricky subject for me to think about. I want the right to die but I don’t want to die. So while I believe in one thing on principle, the stronger principle leads me to try to avoid the first thing. In other words, I’m in the denial stage of death when I’m not even dying anytime soon (as far as I know). But nevertheless I want the right to choose and I want others to have the right to choose as well.
The objection to the argument in regards to the “sanctity of life” doesn’t make sense. If the person is able to kill themselves then it doesn’t much matter what the outside world thinks (not that it should in any case). But if a person needs assistance, then they should be able to ask for it. The doctor isn’t a murderer nor is he or she violating the Hippocratic Oath—to keep the person alive and suffering would do harm. It isn’t the doctor who’s making the decision, it’s the patient. The doctor is simply providing necessary—albeit final—health care.
It’s that decision that’s the key. The person doing the killing is the one who’s making the conscious decision to do so. If the right to die was made legal then the doctor would be obliged to follow through with the patient’s wishes. If the doctor objects to do so then they obviously wouldn’t be there in the first place. He or she would have to make an agreement with the patient up front as to what would happen in that situation.
Also, if a religious person was placed in the position that they would be kept alive and suffering, but their beliefs would dictate that they keep on going, then it would be their right to do what they want as well. But the individual in pain should be the one to make that decision, not an outside source.
To bring this back to myself, I don’t know how I would feel if I was in that position. I’m not so I don’t have to think about it. It’s really not something that I am in the proper mindset for as I’m doing fine. Who knows how I would feel if the time comes? But I want to have the right to take my life into my own hands ready for me as a sort of assurance. I don’t want to make the decision and drag things out longer than necessary.
I should also make a quick note about being kept alive by machines and unconscious. In this case, yes, I would wish to be kept alive. Who knows, maybe they could find a way to start my brain again. But I’m saying right now that I want to be kept alive in that instance. I’m perfectly okay with people who make the decision ahead of time to be taken off of life support. For myself, I want to make the conscious decision on my own at the time whether or not to end myself.