Demanding the Right to Die

Posted By on September 23, 2015

Demanding the Right to Die looks at the debate around euthanasia that has been a heating up over the past few years. High profile cases, academics and the medical profession weighing in, along with government debate have put this firmly into the public spotlight.

Following are some of the pros and cons of the debate.

Pros:

  • It provides a way to relieve extreme pain and prolonged suffering
  • It provides relief when a person’s quality of life is very low i.e. assisted breathing, excessive daily or hourly pain
  • Frees up the medical system to help people that are not terminal or whose conditions could be significantly improved
  • It a freedom of choice when the circumstances are right

Cons:

  • Euthanasia devalues human life and removes the ability to sustain it through technological advancements
  • Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment (this is particularly controversial)
  • Physicians and other medical care people should not be involved in directly causing death
  • There is a “slippery slope” effect that has occurred where euthanasia has been first been legalized for only
    the terminally ill and later laws are changed to allow it for other people or to be done non-voluntarily.

The Canadian Debate

For over 20 years, Canadian citizens and courts have been engaged in a vigorous debate on euthanasia. In this video, ‘The Trouble with Dying’, we see each side of the argument. This one-hour documentary explores the very personal implications that it has on those living with chronic illnesses.

Thinking About the Right to Die

In 2015, The Economist’s International Editor, Dr Helen Joyce, asks why assisted suicide is supported by so many, yet legal for so few. A deep and interesting look at the subject.

See more at The Economist and there is a great podcast from the University of Oxford as well about the medical ethics around euthanasia.

An Interview with Pioneer Dr. Kervorkian

In April 2010, CNN’s Anderson Cooper sat down for a candid conversation with physician Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the doctor who took the brave step forward to help people that had chosen to die. He had to be clandestine in how he did this, often choosing to undertake this assistance in vehicles so as not to implicate landlords, residents and other people at a time when assisted death was illegal and very unacceptable.

In 1999, Dr. Kevorkian was arrested and tried for his direct role in a case of voluntary euthanasia. He was convicted of second-degree murder and served eight years of a 10-to-25-year prison sentence. He was released on parole on June 1, 2007, on condition he would not offer advice nor participate nor be present in the act of any type of suicide involving euthanasia to any other person; as well as neither promote nor talk about the procedure of assisted suicide (source: Wikipedia)

Dying is not a crime.

Dr. Kevorkian died in 2011 and the epitaph on his tombstone reads, “He sacrificed himself for everyone’s rights.”

Assisted death is never going to be easy to understand. It’s more likely that people will understand in greater depth as more people push for the right to choose this path and their families, communities and countries wrestle with this idea. In reality, and in the future, this will likely exist as an open choice however there will be a lengthy path to making it happen, and maybe that is the right course of action.

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Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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