Assisted Suicide

Yesterday a Dutch court found Albert Heringa guilty of assisting his step-mother with committing suicide. Though the judges were convinced of his guilt, they refused to punish Heringa for his actions, because he acted out of love.

We of Republic of Lagrangia believe that people should have to right to determine whether they should live or not, and as such we believe that assisted suicide should be legal, albeit with the necessary regulations.

Of course, this case has opened a controversial issue, as is demonstrated by the comments beneath the news article. One of those commenters remarked that allowing assisted suicide would set open the door to “Nazi eugenics“. This comment clearly shows a certain ignorance. First, euthanasia or assisted suicide as such have nothing to do with eugenics, which is the systematic improvement of human genotypes. Secondly, what they Nazis did with their Aktion T4 can described at best as involuntary euthanasia, which is fundamentally different from voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide. The latter are done at request of the person who will be killed, whereas involuntary euthanasia is nothing else than murder, which will and should remain prohibited.

An other objection raised, is that this would lead to elder abuse and manipulation by (greedy) relatives. The last problem is easy to solve if, as we have proposed, a progressive inheritance tax would be levied. With such a tax, people will only inherit only little wealth, so a strong motive for manipulating one’s relatives to commit suicide will be removed. The abuse of the elderly is a severe problem, and will not be solved by banning assisted suicide. Tackling this issue is a complex matter, and proposing simplistic solutions will not necessarily help anyone.

In order to ensure that euthanasia or assisted suicide only happen voluntarily, proper regulations has to be designed. For instance, a video will could be required before any life-ending decision could be made.

See also

Euthanasia and capital punishment

11 thoughts on “Assisted Suicide”

      1. The right to live, should include to the right to die. If this shouldn’t be the case, then there will be no right to live, but an obligation to live. Since no one has ever made a choice to have been born, hence forcing people to live is in conflict with basic liberal and humanist values.

        1. I haven’t gone that far. Maybe they could have since dying a honorable death was highly valued, maybe they practiced euthanasia. It would be interesting to find out

  1. Allowing assisted suicide opens up a can of worms, though. It’s not an easy thing to legislate and control. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, of course. In some cases it is simply immoral not allow someone to end their life.

    I think it’s pretty clear that a person should have the right to legally terminate their lives, with dignity and without repercussions to family and loved ones, if said person suffers continuous physical pain that cannot be relieved.

    It becomes tricky when you’re talking about severe depression, or people who do not experience physically pain. E.g. suffers of quadriplegia, where the person suffers mentally and has to endure the indignity of not being able to look after themselves, which can also be a hardship for family members. But in the latter case, you might find people who choose to die, even though they don’t necessarily want to, to spare their family hardship. It it ethical to allow such a person to die? Can assessments be made to capture instances like this?

    1. Your first paragraph is the slippery slope argument that many adopt to express why they reject legalising abortion that women will be doing so left, right and centre. Whereas, this is a legitimate concern, it doesn’t seem to be supported by evidence. The reason why we need assisted suicide legalised is to live knowing that should you need to use it, the service will be available. An objection, which is valid, has been raised that people may coerce the elderly under their care to opt for this. I don’t know how to check for this especially since there will always be a greedy person somewhere!

      I think we are in agreement in most things. The decision to die should rest with the person living. If they don’t find their lives anymore meaningful, I think they should be free to quit. I think it is the Japs who say if you save a man’s life, he is your responsibility.

      On the last questions you ask, I think it is ethical to allow anyone who wants to end their lives to do so. There is no death that doesn’t affect family members even if the very old granny dies from old age, in as much as there are those who feel relief, many more will be hurt. Maybe I misunderstood your point on hardship, if so the just ignore this part of my comment.

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