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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The New Republic: Opinion- Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig- Your Right to Die Isn’t Enough: When Euthanasia is an Acceptable Option

This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Euthanasia, is a tough issue for me. We’re not just talking about suicide here, but someone getting legal help from not just someone else to kill them, but getting that help from someone whose sworn to protect life. And do whatever they can to save people who are hurt. And in many cases where their life is at risk and they can die if they don’t get the proper medical treatment.

But I’ve never said that I believe in an absolute Right to Life. Besides, my definition to Right to Life, is a bit different from lets say a devout Catholic, or Evangelical. My Right to Life is about the individual. That they’re responsible for the management of their own life and held accountable for good and bad exactly how they live their life and the impact that they make on others. My Right to Life, or belief in it, is conditional, to be blunt about it. That once a person becomes a person, meaning they’re born, they’re responsible for their own life and can live their own live anyway they choose. As long as they aren’t hurting any innocent person.

And because of this as a Liberal, I can say, you what this is your life. How you decide to live is up to you and you’re going to be held accountable for exactly how you live for good, bad an in between. Which is why I can say as a Liberal that I believe physician assisted suicide, should be an option for people who are terminally ill. Or in such bad shape that it’s just not that they’ll never recover, but they’ll be in some type of horrible pain regardless of the amount of medication that they have access for the rest of their lives. But I’m a Liberal, not a Libertarian, or an Anarchist. And I believe there also needs to be rules in place for exactly how physician assisted suicide could be carried out. To protect the innocent from predatory behavior.

One, a patient who is in real bad shape physically and suffering a lot, or not, whether they’ve essentially been given a death sentence from their doctor, or not, would need a doctor’s written consent to be put to death. Doctors shouldn’t be forced to deliver this procedure, especially if they’re against it.

Two, someone who is contemplating physician assisted suicide, needs to either facing a death sentence. Meaning they’ve been told they only have a certain amount of time to live and they’ll be in pain for the rest of their life. Or, they’re such in bad shape that they could theoretically live a natural life in years, but will be in serious pain for the rest of their life.

Three, the patient is in solid mental health and think clearly and knows exactly what they’re doing. That they’re in the best mental health that they possibly can be. So they don’t make a horrible mistake that they’ll never recover from.

Four, they’re 21, or over. Minors, should not only be able to make this decision for themselves, but not even be able to make this decision with parental consent.

Five, that the patient informs their family that they’ve decided to end their life. So they know what’s going on here with their relative. Even if they are not physically and emotionally close with that person.

Again, physician assisted suicide, should be a tough issue for anyone whose either on the fence on it, or thinks it should be an option for people. Because we are talking about ending the life of someone who hasn’t even been accused of hurting an innocent person. But for me at least as a Liberal, the Right to Life belongs to the individual. And they have that right until they lose it. And for me that even includes the right to take that life under the conditions that I’ve laid out.