I had a conversation with a friend about assisted suicide this afternoon (she is writing an essay about it, it’s not our normal conversation I’ll point out), and it got me thinking about how it could be introduced legally. My standpoint on assisted suicide is that it should be legal. I believe that it is up to an individual to decide what they want to do with their life. I think that if you are in a state where you cannot move, talk or write, then you should have the choice to end your life if you want to. My friend, who on the whole agreed with me, played devil’s advocate to question the risks of abuse, if it were legal.
My immediate solution for that problem would be as follows:
At any stage in your life you can write some type of declaration stating that given certain conditions, you would wish to die. This could be declared in a single-purpose legal document, as an attachment to one of those organ donor cards (or similar), or just added to your hospital records. An example might be ‘if I enter a state of vegetation whereby I will not recover, I wish to die.’
The fears for abuse could be reduced further with additional conditions: you could state that the declaration had to be made prior to the illness or state developing – perhaps either by a number of months or a number of years. The declaration could be age or ‘situation’ specific, for example if your wealth suddenly increases by a few million, you have to make the declaration again.
These additional conditions could easily be strung on to an assisted suicide law to whichever degree the Government deemed necessary for it to pass. Of course, I would welcome as few necessities as possible, but anything is better than nothing. Some people have had the liberty to go to Switzerland to do this legally, but not everyone will have that power or ability. 75% of people believe that doctors should be able to assist terminally ill patients in ending their own lives. I believe this too, but I also believe that it can be done so that you remove as much chance for abuse as possible.
I’m intrigued to read more on this to see if such proposals have already been suggested and if so what the counter-arguments for them were.