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In June 2015, Belgium ruled that a healthy 24-year-old woman suffering from depression
qualifies for euthanasia. In California, a woman with painful lung cancer has sued the
state to allow her to commit suicide. Some countries have laws criminalizing suicide;
others have laws allowing euthanasia. So, should people have the right to die?
Well, the argument against suicide was first debated by the philosopher Socrates. He said
that since people belong to the gods and not themselves, it was not their right to end
their own lives. Before this, suicide was generally seen as a last resort alternative
to extreme or prolonged suffering by the ancient Egyptians and Romans. But as society progressed
and Christianity spread, suicide began to be seen as a sin – a violation of “thou
shalt not kill”. Since one couldn’t repent for a sin after committing suicide, it was
implied that you would go to hell as a result. In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas, a priest
and legal scholar, codified this belief influencing criminal and civil law .
While suicide is no longer illegal in most countries, including the United States, the
topic has seen significant resurgence in recent years in the form of “right-to-die” euthanasia.
Euthanasia is also known as “assisted suicide”. Some argue that people should be allowed a
right to die for the exact same reason they are given a right to live. Specifically, the
right to life is inherently the right to either continue or stop living. Without the second
option, it is no longer a right, but a “duty to live”.
Additionally, the complicated issue of whether or not assisting suicide should be illegal
becomes part of the problem. While suicide itself is mostly not criminalized around the
world, euthanasia is considered murder in many regions. However, in some situations,
a person who wants to commit suicide is unable to by physical limitations. Alternately, someone
may prefer to deal with the issue medically, and not alone.
On the other hand, many oppose suicide and the right to die, on both religious and secular
grounds. The Hippocratic Oath is a code for doctors which is generally understood to include
a responsibility to avoid harming patients. Assisting suicide would generally violate
that oath. Additionally, someone with an incorrect diagnosis may kill themselves to avoid suffering.
Some argue that a certain level of mental degeneration brought on by illness or age
would preclude a person from making the informed choice to kill themselves. There is also the
fear that it would create a slippery slope of insurers pressuring doctors to prescribe
euthanasia to cut down on costs.
The right to die debate is a deeply philosophical and existential issue with no easy solution.
Culture, religion, age, and a myriad of other differences mean that euthanasia and suicide
are extremely personal subjects.
If you are feeling suicidal, please look up your local suicide helpline, or call someone
you trust to talk things over.
Death is a controversial issue. To find out what the US government believes is an appropriate
method of execution, check out our two videos here. Thanks for watching TestTube News. Subscribe
for new videos every day.
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Do You Have The Right To Die?

881 Folder Collection
GaryChan published on February 21, 2017
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