Friday, July 17, 2009

Dignity vs Dignitas

In a Globe and Mail article published this morning, it was announced that the Quebec College of Physicians is contemplating whether to advocate the legalization of euthanasia. The College is set to release a document this fall with their findings from a three-year ethical task force, one of which is the conclusion that Quebec society has evolved to a point where it could tolerate euthanasia in specific circumstances.

This announcement reignites the "right to die" debate, and will force Canadian politicians and citizens alike to critically examine the state of palliative care in this country. Some will argue that if the quality of palliative care is increased, there will be no need for euthanasia. I argue that this is a separate situation. The question is not whether an individual receives adequate care while they are dying, but whether the individual should be forced to endure the process of dying in a way that is unappealing to them.

While most people confront the euthanasia debate from a "right to die" perspective, I have to say that it should be confronted from a "right to life" perspective. If life is a right, it entails that one also has the freedom to live their life in a way that is pleasing and enjoyable to them personally. An individual's (and in this case patient's) life is theirs to do with as they choose, and it is hypocritical that someone's "right to life" (and right to live life as they want it), should be curtailed by bureaucrats. If a person wants to die, that is their choice because it is their life. If they no longer want to live that life- or, as in euthanasia cases, they are dying anyways- that choice is theirs and theirs alone. The Canadian government does not control what clothes we put on in the morning or what music we listen to, or even what religion we practice. What right do they have to control how an individual wishes to end their own, and only their own, life?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the death penelty completely. in cases were the conviction is solid such as confessions or overwhelming evidence. Why should the victims pay to keep such an animal alive, meaning in america it costs an averge of $40,000 a year. thats tax money that pays, so in a way dont the victims pay. and the on the right to die issue. I feel any law created that forces a terminally ill patient to live as long as possible is sadistic an cruel. life should be enjoyed if possible, but if you do not want to go on then what gives someone else the right to control the life of another. Lastly I wish you the best of luck with your career. I agree the reporters of today are a joke, without a punchline.