Assisted Dying

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Assisted Dying

Postby GregB » September 6th, 2015, 7:27 am

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-34166605

I hope the bill is passed despite such objections. I believe people with terminal illnesses should have the right to end their lives peacefully, without further suffering and with dignity. I'm not convinced by those who say that there are medical means available to relieve pain and alleviate other symptoms of terminal decline. After all, what is the point in prolonging a life which is going to end within a matter of months anyway? Naturally, the patient should have the right to decide - some will want to live to the end to be with loved ones, others will want to spare them the distress of witnessing their inexorable descent into 'that good night' with 'the dying of the light'. Too much is made of possible abuses, for which well-conceived legal safeguards should be adequate, and religious doctrinal objections should obtain only for those patients and families which share them.

If I was in that predicament, I know what I would prefer: take the lethal medication, but with a guaranteed bottle of the best single malt to accompany it...and, adios!
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby Sprocket » September 6th, 2015, 7:37 am

I agree. The usual objections about abuse are disingenuous - the objectors nearly always object for religious reasons, but know that those reasons will not convince many people, so they invent pseudo-utilitarian objections. In countries and US states where assisted suicide or euthansia* have been legalised, the legal safeguards put in place have prevented widespread abuse.
Assisted suicide for the seriously ill or disabled who are not terminally ill and could live for years to come is more problematical. I'm not sure that it should be legalised in those cases, although the courts should be very lenient towards friends or relatives who help someone in that situation to end their life, provided it is clear that it was done out of kindness, and at the request of the person.

Someone may mention the nazis in connection with euthanasia, so let me pre-empt that objection. Firstly, even if the nazis had practised euthanasia, it would be irrelevant, and would come under Godwin's law; but secondly, they didn't: what they practised was mass murder, because it was involuntary.

*Assisted suicide is helping someone to take their own life, by for example making up a lethal dose of a poison, then giving it to them to take. Euthanasia is killing someone yourself, by for example injecting them with an intravenous poison. The distinction is who performs the final act - the person themself, or the helper.
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby Pondero » September 6th, 2015, 10:12 am

The Criminal Code of Canada.

241. Every one who
(a) counsels a person to commit suicide, or
(b) aids or abets a person to commit suicide,
whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years. - See more at: http://ethics-euthanasia.ca/legislation ... 68Rrw.dpuf


This was struck down this year by the Supreme Court of Canada to be effective in 2016.

Holland and Belgium has legislation to end life, euthanasia in this case which is abused.I don't want the same thing to happen in Canada.
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby Sprocket » September 6th, 2015, 10:23 am

"I don't want this because of my religion" is fair enough. "I don't want anyone to have this because of my religion" is not. No-one who objects to assisted suicide on religious grounds will ever be obliged to use it, but why should it be banned for those with no religious objection?
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby Pondero » September 6th, 2015, 10:33 am

Sprocket wrote:"I don't want this because of my religion" is fair enough. "I don't want anyone to have this because of my religion" is not. No-one who objects to assisted suicide on religious grounds will ever be obliged to use it, but why should it be banned for those with no religious objection?


Because, the preservation of life under all circumstances applies to everyone regardless of religious beliefs. It transcends religious beliefs.
Many people who commit suicide are not suffering physical illness, but emotional trauma. Those who are suffering from incurable diseases and physical illness, can be aided by palliative care. Assisted suicide is not necessary.
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby Pondero » September 6th, 2015, 10:45 am

I could add to that : John Stuart Mill in his Essay on Liberty would no doubt agree with Sprocket. After all he had no objection to a man using drugs in order to get high, or in killing himself, as long as it didn't affect other people. In my part time studies at university when I studied this book and wrote an essay on it, it was described as a comparison of other and self regarding behavior.
The flaw in Mill's argument is that every act of an individual has in some measure an effect on society as a whole.
I couldn't see that back in those days and was an enthusiastic supporter of Mill's argument, which no doubt was appreciated by my professor who awarded my essay with an A.
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby GregB » September 6th, 2015, 10:58 am

Because, the preservation of life under all circumstances applies to everyone regardless of religious beliefs. It transcends religious beliefs

No, it doesn't, because the notion of "the preservation of life under all circumstances" is a purely religious concept and in Christian terms limited to the Catholic Church and other more conservative denominations. (And carried to its logical extremes, would mean that war was out of the question under any circumstances, something that, say, the warrior Pope Julius II for one wouldn't second, nor in more general terms those who repelled barbaric Nazi aggression.)
Many people who commit suicide are not suffering physical illness, but emotional trauma. Those who are suffering from incurable diseases and physical illness, can be aided by palliative care. Assisted suicide is not necessary.

This has nothing to do with the parliamentary bill in question nor the article about it in my link (which suggests you haven't read either.) The proposal is that people suffering terminal illnesses with six months or less to live should have the possibility of shortening their suffering (when imminent death is inevitable anyway) by means of death-inducing medication provided by medical practitioners but the patients having to administer it themselves, as Steve pointed out above. It has nothing to do with suicide in general and the bill makes it clear that those not suffering terminal illnesses of short duration will not be eligible. As for palliative care, I said earlier that it's basically pointless in the cases of those whose life will shortly end anyway.

In a nutshell, compassion before rigid, heartless dogma.

Edit (on Pondero's further post.) Dragging in Mill and Utilitarianism has nothing to do with this specific issue and is basically a spin-off variation of Godwin's Law. And I disagree with the undemonstrable generalisation "that every act of an individual has in some measure an effect on society as a whole".
Last edited by GregB on September 6th, 2015, 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby Pondero » September 6th, 2015, 11:33 am

:amen: I have replied and due to technical difficulties my reply is lost in cyberspace. This second reply will not be as good as the first one.
I don't have to limit myself to what Greg mentioned in his original post.As long as I am still on topic.

I think the preservation of life under all circumstances applies to all, regardless of religion. Greg disagrees, so be it.
There are some things which are right and some things which are wrong, and apply to allmankind. Assisted suicide is wrong.To support his view Greg says that carried to its logical conclusion war was out of the question under all circumstances. This is not true at all, and as there is such a thing as a just war, where the greater evil for most of the people defending it is taken into consideration, under the label of self defence.
Greg wrote.
The proposal is that people suffering terminal illnesses with six months or less to live should have the possibility of shortening their suffering (when imminent death is inevitable anyway) by means of death-inducing medication provided by medical practitioners but the patients having to administer it themselves, as Steve pointed out above. It has nothing to do with suicide in general and the bill makes it clear that those not suffering terminal illnesses of short duration will not be eligible


We already have that in Canada. We call it palliative care. My brother-in-law who died of terminal lung cancer was equipped with pain reducing drugs administered (not by mouth) when he walked into my house (20 years ago). The intent, I repeat the intent, was pain reduction, and the ability to lead as normal a life as possible to the very end, which came quickly. The intent was not assisted suicide.
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby GregB » September 6th, 2015, 11:43 am

No, you don't have it (ie. what we are specifically talking about here) in Canada and you are still not getting the main point. Palliative care (which is pointless anyway when your death is on the near horizon) is another matter; this is all about enabling those who wish to end their lives without having them prolonged unnecessarily and, as I see it, they should have a perfect right to do so if they are not members of a church which denies it.
"Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." ("Traveller, there is no path, you make the path as you walk.")
- Antonio Machado (Spanish poet, 1875-1939.)
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Re: Assisted Dying

Postby Pondero » September 6th, 2015, 1:14 pm

I did say earlier:

Holland and Belgium has legislation to end life, euthanasia in this case which is abused.I don't want the same thing to happen in Canada.


Any comments on the slippery slope of those European countries who have degenerated into moral decline.
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