t is easy to forget that adultery was a crime in Spain until 1978, or that the last anti-sodomy law was struck down in 2003 in America. Although most Western governments no longer have power to dictate how consenting adults have sex, they still stand in the way of adults’ choices about death. The current argument is over an individual’s right to die at the time and in the manner of their own choosing. For some, this argument is moral and absolute: ending a human life is wrong, because life is sacred and suffering confers its own special dignity. For others, this is the first step on a slippery slope leading to the vulnerable being taken advantage of –a place where premature death becomes a cheap alternative to end-of-life care. These views deserve to be taken seriously. But citizens’ liberty and autonomy deserves to be taken seriously as well. There are many doctors who realize this –those who help their patients die, even if the law explicitly bans them from doing so. But this approach should not continue, for it is unmonitored, unethical and unworkable. Instead, we should follow the model Oregon has set: doctors are allowed to prescribe lethal drugs to patients with less than six months to live if the patient asks for them and a second doctor is consulted. There are a few issues with Oregon’s method, though: first, it requires the drug be self-administered. For those with motor neuron diseases, this is impossible. Doctors should be able to assist, at the patient’s request. Second, the law only covers conditions that are terminal. Instead, it should be based on the patient’s assessment of their suffering. It is clear that society should only help people to die when there are safeguards in place, such as mandatory counseling sessions about alternatives, a waiting period, and a face-to-face consultation with a second independent medical expert. However, no matter how well they are counseled, people may not choose wisely. But it would be wrong to deny everyone the right to assisted death for this reason. In secular society, it is odd to establish the sanctity of life in the abstract by subjecting many real lives to unbearable pain, misery and suffering.
Who Should Have The Right To Die? | The Nerdwriter