Assisted Suicide

GWBPC Engage Justice Gorsuch. Photo by Grant Miller

The approval of the principle "right to die" is dangerously trending up.

In August, New Jersey became the seventh state to legalize assisted suicide. Euthanasia is now responsible for 4.5% of deaths in the Netherlands, with many of those including people who weren’t terminally ill.

“These are old people who may have health problems, but none of them are life-threatening,” bioethicist Scott Kim told CBS. “They're old, they can't get around, their friends are dead and their children don't visit anymore. This kind of trend cries out for a discussion. Do we think their lives are still worthwhile?"

Assisted suicide is often conflated with euthanasia, which has different motives, but with the same results. Assisted suicide is usually defined as helping a person end their life. Euthanasia is essentially a nicer sounding version of assisted suicide. Amazingly, euthanasia has 73% of American support in a 2017 Gallup poll. This is downright horrifying.

Assisted suicide and euthanasia in bare-bone terms, is the practice of helping people kill themselves. The principle in favor of assisted suicide and euthanasia is known as right to die, that one is entitled to end their life.

Objectively, if one wants to deny themselves life sustaining treatment, I feel that is understandable. We didn’t have these life sustaining devices until recently. Denying themselves life sustaining treatment is just letting life go through its intended course. The National Health Service distinguishes this from euthanasia. The BBC says “The NHS says withdrawing life-sustaining treatment can be part of good palliative care and should not be confused with euthanasia.”

But to me, you aren’t ending your life; you’re letting life carry itself on which is very different from euthanasia or assisted suicide.

I have much sorrow for those who are terminally ill. However, that doesn’t mean you should end your life.

Does one have the right to die? Well philosophically speaking, no. If you believe that people have the right to be born, then yes, one has the right to die. You have to be born to die. But since most believe the right to choose outweighs that, then the right to die isn’t a philosophically consistent one.

People often forget how the practices of the right to die, euthanasia and assisted suicide are seen in the eyes of the society: murder. In the majority of states, the preservation of life is considered the biggest priority.

In terms of law, the Supreme Court has ruled that from FindLaw, “the government's interest in preserving life and preventing intentional killing outweighed the patient's interest in the liberty to choose to die, regardless of the patient's condition.”

Supreme Court Justise Neil Gorsuch once said, “Once we open the door to excusing or justifying the intentional taking of life as 'necessary,' we introduce the real possibility that the lives of some persons (very possibly the weakest and most vulnerable among us) may be deemed less 'valuable,' and receive less protection from the law, than others."

The right to die forgets how special life really is.

Opinion Editor

Schell-Olsen has been with The News Record since Aug. 2018. He frequently writes about politics, society and elections.