On June 17, 2016 Canada passed into law the controversial Bill C-14 which makes it legal to provide medically assisted euthanasia. Since then, over 1,300 people in Canada have died with physician assistance. A recent news article chronicled one man’s touching story of his decision to go through the assisted death process.
As humans we have a natural desire to survive, but what happens to that desire if we are suffering or in pain with little hope of recovery?
Euthanasia allows for people to make end of life choices with their dignity intact. According to a report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, loss of dignity is one of the biggest concerns among terminal patients, along with loss of independence and the inability to participate in activities that make life enjoyable
There is a fear that some seeking medically assisted death may see themselves as a financial or emotional burden and may seek euthanasia out of concern for others – or that family members themselves may push a terminally ill relative into assisted death as a way to contain costs. Abuse like this could be prevented by mandating that people fill out a healthcare directive and by implementing regulations that prevent abuse.
Health resources are being used on people who cannot be cured, and would prefer not to continue living. Allowing such people to die with medically assisted euthanasia would not only allow for them to have control over their destiny, but it would also free resources.
Currently, medically assisted death is legal in five states in the U.S. – California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. You have to be a resident of the state and meet certain qualifications.
There is a bill that was introduced in Minnesota this year that would allow people to end their own lives if they have a documented terminal illness, have less than six months to live, still have full decision making capacity and are able to self-administer the drugs. It would require approval of two physicians, and the request for the drug would have to be in writing.
Medically assisted euthanasia should be accessible to anyone who makes it clear that they want to escape the pain and suffering due to a terminal illness. Individual rights in deciding when life should end as a consequence, should be honored.