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.