Voluntary Euthanasia

Nikki - posted on 12/03/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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Voluntary Euthanasia, is currently a contentious issue in many countries. Do you agree with the legalisation of euthanasia? If a terminally ill person decides that they wish to end their life, is it acceptable for others to assist them?

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La - posted on 12/03/2010

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What you want to do with your body should be your choice as long as it does not severly impact the life of another person. I am pro-choice, but I don't see how abortion can be legal (because it IS killing the life of the someone else) yet euthansia (which is the choice to kill only yourself) is illegal. Seems like if you can legally make the choice to euthanize your unborn child you should be able to euthanize yourself right?

Lady Heather - posted on 12/04/2010

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I don't know if anyone mentioned this yet, but Christina - suicide would exempt my husband's life insurance policy. Voluntary euthanasia due to extreme medical distress, legal and proper would likely not.

Imagine if you had a bunch of medical bills or you were off work and got in debt, or had a big mortgage and you didn't want your spouse to have to sell the house...how could you just commit suicide and leave your family that way?

I'm all for it. If you don't like voluntary euthanasia, don't volunteer to euthanize yourself. But don't presume to know the extent of the suffering of others and what the best way is for them to die. They probably know better than you what is best for them.

Sal - posted on 12/03/2010

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feel that (like some one else mentioned) that if abortion is legal than so should this be, todays medicine is so wonderous we are making new lives where there would of been none (ivf etc) we are extending lives with all the wonderful medicine there is so if sick people want to stop their suffering they should have that right, but having said that it must be tightly regulated as it can be a very slippery slope and it is not something you can take back if you change your mind, it is final.

Krista - posted on 12/03/2010

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I'm sorry about your cousin, but I just can't agree with it. It's just morally wrong, IMO.



Then you won't ever choose that route. And that's fine. But I think that the option should be available to those people who wish to die and who do NOT think it's morally wrong.



Your comparison to rape and homicide is faulty -- in those cases, you are hurting someone ELSE against their will. With assisted suicide, you are killing yourself, willfully, with someone else's help. It's a completely separate animal.

Mrs. - posted on 12/03/2010

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Apparently, taking an overdose of pills is a painful way to go..you don't just drift away. However, with the help of an IV and a physician, it can be less so.

Besides, as people have already said, it's happening any way. Yes, there would have to be regulations, the same way when people have a sex change, they have to go through a process of evaluation to do something that altering.

I have a long term chronic illness and for a time I joined a group for chronically ill people. Many of these people had been dealing with debilitating pain, surgeries and the inability to care for themselves. We actually had some open discussions about suicide and the idea of having a choice about your life ending. With the exception of one woman who was very religious, everyone agreed that if their illness progressed to the point that they were no longer "living" they would want the choice. Not just that, but they'd want it done humanely and without a large amount of pain.

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Tara - posted on 12/03/2010

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Yep, I support it 100%, my Grandmother had to starve herself to death because she couldn't do the assisted suicide route, no one was willing to risk being charged with murder.
She had lung cancer, was in awful pain, was lapsing in and out of any kind recognizable sense of self.
It was horrible to see her waste away to nothing. The only thing we could do was increase her morphine.
We take the lives of our pets all the time. Why can't we as adults make those choices for ourselves as well.

Jocelyn - posted on 12/03/2010

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I am all for it. I'm sorry, but if I have some horrible terminal debilitating illness, and I want to end my own life then I should have that option! Being confined to a bed, not able to do the simplest tasks, not recognizing my children, that's no life worth living.

La - posted on 12/03/2010

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Killing of any kind (abortion, euthanasia, death row, etc) can be labeled "morally wrong" by many, however, it is a necessary part of the circle of life. All things must die for another to live. Plants and animals must die for us to eat, and we must die and become dirt for the plants, insects, and animals in return. We, as humans, are always fighting death...fighting the inevitable idea of being dead and having those around us die. While I'm not saying that everyone should go kill themselves or kill others, I'm saying that death is an unavoidable part of life. Therefore, if someone wants to die (euthanasia), does not want life to grow inside them (abortion), or has earned the punishment of death (death sentence) we should not morally condemn the people who make those choices. Rather, we should allow people to choose for themselves and if we don't like the idea of "choosing our own deaths" than we do not have to participate in this for ourselves. (in the case of prisoners- their choice to commit a crime knowing the consequence could be a death sentence WAS their choice to die)

Petra - posted on 12/03/2010

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Damn, that's a good point Laura. We use these euphemisms (abortion, ending suffering, humane euthanasia) that all mean the same thing: taking the life of a human being. All of it makes me uncomfortable, which makes me really want to examine my motives for holding the beliefs I do. Like you, I am pro-choice, though I acknowledge that regardless of the stage of pregnancy, you are ending a life - it is a choice I've ensured I've never had to make because I'm so conflicted about the morality of it. Euthanasia makes me feel the same - ideally, a person should be able to make that choice, but I don't think the responsibility to make or carry out that choice should fall on someone else's shoulders.

Jodi - posted on 12/03/2010

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That's the reason I'm a little on the fence about it, the safeguards. But as I said, it happens anyway. It's just not talked about. I think you would find anyone in the medical field who works in palliative care would tell you it happens all the time.

Krista - posted on 12/03/2010

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No, you have a point, Christina. Some people could be coerced into it. That's why I said that IF it were to be made legal, there would need to be a lot of safeguards in place, such as the two separate psychological assessments, to ensure that the person is of sound mind, and is doing this of their own free will, with no coercion from anybody.

C. - posted on 12/03/2010

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Ok, Krista.. I did not think about things like that, so I apologize. My stance still stands, though, on thinking it's morally wrong. Sorry. And I fear that if people are given that option, then the WRONG people are going to push the patients into it for the wrong reasons (ie: their own benefits).. And guess what? There's nothing anyone could do about it b/c it would be LEGAL. There's just too much that could go wrong and I will never change my position on the issue. It was the same several months ago when we originally had this debate and it's the same now.



Ok.. No, my point is valid, actually. B/c if the wrong person gets their way, they can always claim it was the patient's will to die and not that of their own so they could get whatever (inheritance, etc).

Krista - posted on 12/03/2010

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I think it should be legalized. However, I think that there should be a lot of screening taking place in order to ensure that the person is of completely sound mind and that they are not being coerced in any way. For example, the person should have to have two separate psychological screenings, by two separate psychologists, a month apart, with the patient's attorney present.

And Christina, some people WOULDN'T be able to do it without assistance. My great uncle had Lou Gehrig's disease -- a fate I would not wish upon my worst enemy. His body became paralyzed. Had he wished to end his own life at that point, he would not have been able to do so. But, were he still able to verbalize or to otherwise communicate, then he could have had the option to end his suffering at that point, were euthanasia legal.

Caitlin - posted on 12/03/2010

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I think it should be legal..; though there would be legal issues involved, the person that is terminal and suffering or has no hopes of recovery SHOULD have the option to decide what is best for them and my family.

I have a friend with 5 siblings and their mom has terminal cancer, it's everywhere, she's been suffering for a while now (almost years) and the kids have been taking care of her, recently, she's sprouted some brain tumors and the pressure in her brain has left her physically very ill, blind and she has vertigo. this cancer is slow, and is causing so many issues, but doesn't seem to want to kill her and therefore the 6 kids are just waiting for that phone call, she lives with one of the siblings now because she can't take care of herself but refuses to go into palliative. If she were to chose to end her suffering for her own good and the good of her family, why shouldn't she be able to? Sure it would save health care costs, but you have to think of the families too. If I was dying and in pain and hadd no quality of life, i'd love to have the option to choose euthanasia, so I could say goodbye to my family and pass in peace, and leave them with decent memories of how I went, not writhing in pain and not being able to recognise my own daughters...

C. - posted on 12/03/2010

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What's new, Kelly, with you disagreeing with my post. I'm sorry about your cousin, but I just can't agree with it. It's just morally wrong, IMO.

Petra - posted on 12/03/2010

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I see the analogy, Jodi, and I definitely appreciate the sentiment. But pets can not make these decisions for themselves, while humans have clear-cut legal rights to bodily autonomy. A lot of pets are euthanized in the early stages of terminal conditions, after a car accident where surgical success can not be guaranteed, or when they are no longer able to walk/go to the bathroom on their own. We wouldn't hold these same standards for people, so for me, likening euthanizing a pet to euthanizing a human can't be held as parallels. I agree that humans should be allowed to make the choice to die with dignity, but bringing it about legally is uber sketchy given the motivations of governing bodies, money hungry or bitter family members, indifferent care givers, etc.

Jodi - posted on 12/03/2010

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Legal or not, doctors still do it all the time. It is just a gradual increase of morphine over time until one day, the balance between killing the pain and causing the body to shut down tips to the other side. I was there when that happened to my father-in-law (ex's father), and he KNEW this was what they were planning. It was actually discussed with his doctors earlier that week because of the pain he was in. Obviously it was unofficial. But it was done in a way that no-one could EVER question the legality of it.

The second time I have encountered it was when a friend of mine died of breast cancer earlier this year. She was on a very high dose of morphine for her pain. It was absolutely tragic, and her children (aged 10 and 13) had to watch her progress. She finally decided enough was enough, requested hospice care and shortly after (about 2 weeks), passed away. Official cause of death was cancer. But the balance between the pain and the morphine just worked it that way.

I know it sounds wrong. But having watched the progress of the diseases each of these people suffered, I have no problem with the fact that it happens.

I am personally, however, still undecided on legalising euthanasia. I DO think it could be abused too easily if it were legal, and would need a lot of thought about how it should work.

However, we ARE quite happy to euthanase a pet with a terminal illness and in pain, and see that as humane, so why shouldn't humans have the same dignity?

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I am for it, but like, Petra, I do have concerns that it would be used to trim costs rather than reduce suffering.

I have to disagree with Christina's statement that if someone wants to die they can do it themselves. I have a cousin who is a "vegetable" right now. He can move his pinking and kind of move his tongue to form simple, slurred words, but nothing else. His mind is fully functional though and he wants to die. The problem is that here, it is only legal to turn the machines off (he is on a feeding tube) if he is "brain dead" and family consents. He is not brain dead, he wants to die, but he can't move, so he can't end his own life, he NEEDS someone else to do it. I think in situations like his, euthanasia should be available and legal.

Petra - posted on 12/03/2010

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Again, I side with Christina. My grandfather was terminally ill and the doctors wanted to keep him in the hospital and "make him comfortable" for the remaining time he had left. He checked out of the hospital, went home, stopped taking all of his meds, and passed peacefully, at home, surrounded by family, a few days later. I understand that not every terminally ill/elderly patient has this option, but it can not be left to the discretion of health care providers.

Stifler's - posted on 12/03/2010

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If a law was passed, so few people would actually be considered eligible.

C. - posted on 12/03/2010

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My dad had liver cancer and suffered, so I know how hard it can be on both the family and the person suffering (but only from observing, of course). And he passed when I was 9.



My thing is, if someone WANTS to die, that's all on them. They don't NEED someone to assist them. Usually pain killers are left beside the bed for easy access. If they were determined, it could happen without help from others, IMO.

Tracey - posted on 12/03/2010

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Having seen my dad die very painfully from cancer I agree with voluntary euthanasia. If a terminally ill person wants to die then they should be allowed to do so by taking an overdose of pain killer.

Nikki - posted on 12/03/2010

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I am a bit torn about this issue to be honest, I have concerns about people being convinced to pass consent for the wrong reasons.

On the other side I have seen the pain involved in palliative care with no chance of long term survival.

I am interested to hear other's responses.

Petra - posted on 12/03/2010

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Holy smokes, Christina, I agree with you. My feelings have more to do with the slippery slope legalized euthanasia would present to society. I fear that euthanasia has the capacity to become less about humanely ending suffering and more about cutting costs in extended care. Let's face it, if the government/health care system wants to trim its budget, long-term care for terminally ill patients is definitely a huge cost. If the option to cut this cost were available, I can't help but think that it would be taken advantage of - especially for those patients that do not have someone unbiased and of sound mind to advocate for them.



To me, its a lot like a communist utopia - in theory, fantastic; in reality, not practicable. I absolutely do not agree that anybody should have the power to legislate death for humans.

C. - posted on 12/03/2010

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I don't agree with it. I think if they are that intent on ending their lives, they'd do it w/o assistance. I think with euthanasia being legal (I don't know if it is or not, but if it is or if it ever comes to be), it's almost like murder, IMO, and it's in their faces the whole time they are dealing with whatever it is that is going on. Who's to say there wouldn't be some screwed up doctor that pushed them into it? I know there are screwed up doctors everywhere and they do things anyway, but to me this is like the go-ahead from the government for those screwy doctors. I just don't like the idea.



**EDITED TO ADD**



To me, it's like this.. It's just as bad as if rape or homicide were legalized. It's something that was seen wrong by the people, but they legalized it and then people can get away with it.. If that makes any sense.

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