The availability of physician-assisted suicide would provide peace of mind to many dying people, some of whom, as has happened in the three American states, would never actually find it necessary to resort to taking the drugs. But they rest more easily knowing they could do so.
The faith should be the person’s ultimate concern and all the treasures and promises of the world should not be able to temp his strength. It is the basis for a better society, with common respect, understanding, love and peace. If the God’s reign is the basis of human relations, it would ban the earthly concerns of money, power, false humanism, and social inequality. Because most controversial issues are already solved in the Bible and have become the international wisdom known as the God’s commandments, only people tend to forget about them, pursuing their own earthly goals and sharing temporary egoistic values. I believe God’s command is the only reply to the question of assisted suicide.
But what sort of legislation should it be? Simply adopting the model used in the three American states would be a major advance for Canada. It would not be a big additional step to move from the basic right to physician-assisted prescriptions to physician-administered direct lethal injection, on request from a patient, as is permitted in The Netherlands. This is something that is called voluntary euthanasia, something that is slightly different but, I would argue, morally equivalent to assisted suicide. Permitting either assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia, or ideally both, would then take care of situations like that faced by Sue Rodriguez who was diagnosed with ALS in 1991. Rodriguez wanted to live only as long as she had some control over her body, but knew that once this happened she would no longer be able, on her own, to commit suicide. She appealed for legal sanction to get assistance, but in 1993 the Supreme Court of Canada denied her appeal by a vote of 5 to 4, even though all the Justices, even those voting against her, recognized that their decision was discriminatory in that suicide is possible for the able-bodied, but not so for the severely disabled. Apparently the five Justices feared that the public danger of allowing assisted suicide outweighed the discrimination.
Notwithstanding the fears, not supported by any evidence, permitting of assisted suicide seems like an obvious way we could markedly improve Canadian law. Much more problematic is the matter of involuntary euthanasia, where the decision is made to end a life without direct consent, as in the cases of those in a coma or those who, like Tracy Latimer, could never even understand the question. This is obviously a much more difficult matter, and the possibility of it bothers many people, including many of those who favour more progressive end-of-life legislation.
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Muslims are against physician-assisted dying. They believe that all human life is sacred because it is given by Allah, and that Allah chooses how long each person will live. Human beings should not interfere in this. This end-of-life option is, therefore, forbidden. Physicians must not take active measures to terminate a patient’s life. The Qur’an states: “Take not life which Allah made sacred otherwise than in the course of justice”
The teachings of the Buddha don’t explicitly deal with aid in dying, but the Buddha himself showed tolerance of suicide by monks in two cases. Buddhists are not unanimous in their view of physician-assisted dying. The Japanese Buddhist tradition includes many stories of suicide by monks; suicide was used as a political weapon by Buddhist monks during the Vietnam war. In Buddhism, the way life ends has a profound impact on the way the new, reincarnated life will begin. So a person’s state of mind at the time of death is important: their thoughts should be selfless and enlightened, free of anger, hate or fear. This suggests that suicide is only appropriate for people who have achieved enlightenment and that the rest of us should avoid it.
Yes, I truly believe it is a slippery slope:
Laws in all countries have failed consistently to protect their citizens. In Canada you can kill someone and be let out free on a technicality or plea bargain as Homolka and live the the good life.
Our society is based on money and yes with passage of the right for any individual to be allowed to take a life after someone asks to be killed, the ultimate next step is a government to say when a mentally or developmently handicapped person is a burden to society so let’s eliminate them or the elderly in our overcrowded poorly run nursing homes. Balances their books with a clear concience for if the lawyers and judges rule it’s ok and they can sleep at night then it must be great.
We have become a Society that only thinks of ourselves and not the population as a whole as Evelyn Martin is doing. If it is so critical she wants to commit suicide she can do it very effectively and efficiently so the arguments in this day and age that suicide could be bungled is just another bogus factor to add more weight to the pro assisted suicide people.
I do not believe the majority of people believe that allowing a person to deliberately kill another is justified in any circumstance except self defence. Let us tell it like it is assisted suicide / euthanasia is killing — Let us not glorify it or sugar coat it.
If a person wants to commit suicide so be it and with modern science, they are diagnosed way in advance, so they can do it before becoming gravely ill and involving others.
Here is a link to a paper collected in a book on the topic: .
Contributors explore the social, medical, and ethical dilemma of assisted suicide in this revised edition that includes international as well as domestic viewpoints. The federal government’s continued challenges to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, the disabled community’s response to assisted suicide, and the “slippery slope” argument are all examined…
“The frail, poor, elderly and others who are vulnerable will be subject to pressure from third parties or even themselves if an earlier death is an option. This pressure could increase as health care resources decrease. At what point does the possibility of choosing death become an obligation?” This argument has a disingenuous ring to it, being made at the Commission by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. How can their concern really be about creating problems for the vulnerable amongst us, when they refuse to support, for example, safe sex programs in AIDS-ravaged Africa. They as Catholics are resolutely against any form of induced death and they seize on various pretexts to support their belief. But let us grant that their concern about pressuring people to die is a real one — similar concerns have been expressed by others. The underlying fear is that doing in old people will become a way of saving money. Can we really imagine this happening? Can we suppose that legislation to prescribe eliminating the infirm could actually be passed? This is a shibboleth, trotted out by those with other agendas. The movement for progressive end-of-life legislation has nothing to do with imposing death; it is about enabling a good death for those who want it. It is not about removing personal autonomy but enhancing it. And, for the record, there is no evidence that there has been any sort of this imagined abuse from those jurisdictions that allow assisted suicide and euthanasia.
“It is the whole question of allowing death to occur naturally versus causing it.” But it is ludicrous to talk now of allowing death to occur naturally. Who dies naturally these days, without some sort of hospital intervention to try to keep them alive? Tracy Latimer would have died at birth were it not for “unnatural” hospital interventions. If withholding life support will cause death, often for someone who does not know it is being done to them, how is that morally superior to assisting a terminally ill person who clearly wants to die?