Myths About Assisted Suicide Challenged
December 17, 2004
LONDON, ENGLAND--Which of the following ten arguments have you heard or read about assisted suicide:
- Legalizing assisted suicide is just about individual autonomy.
- We all need the 'right to die'.
- Those opposing assisted suicide are a 'small religious minority'.
- Allowing the right to die is the hallmark of a civilized society.
- The central issue is pain.
- This is all about 'dignity'.
- Many are forced into 'lonely, back-street suicides' because of our restrictive laws.
- Amending the Suicide Act to allow assisted suicide would restore a right enjoyed by classical societies.
- The real problem is modern technology's ability to keep people alive indefinitely.
- It is best to die as you choose, surrounded by friends and relatives at home rather than by tubes and monitors in a hospital.
Writer Kevin Yuill wrote that these all are myths. In Friday's Spiked, Yuill challenged each of these "flaws in the arguments for ending lives".
"Surely a mark of civilization would be to offer people in despair some sort of argument that their lives are valuable, that they do have some worth," he wrote. "Instead, right-to-die advocates project their own gloomy estimation of the worth of human life on to these poor souls."
"Right-to-die campaigners condemn the lives of the disabled as bereft of dignity, apparently associating dignity solely with control over bodily functions. According to this definition, if someone loses their bodily 'autonomy', they no longer have human dignity. In my mind, dignity comes from bearing up under suffering we meet throughout our lives rather than letting it destroy us, and from facing fears rather than caving in to them."
"Ten myths about assisted suicide" (Spiked)