The Right To Die
Dying with dignity or playing God?
Do we have the right to die? Is it ever ok to end the life of another? Should people be allowed to choose their own death in accordance with their own wishes, or has death on demand gone too far? Is there a slippery slope? As of 2019, assisted dying is still illegal in the UK but accepted in Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, five states in the USA and Canada. Many people are against assisted dying for religious or moral reasons. They fear the floodgates might be opened leading to uncontrollable killing of vulnerable people. In this Pod, the podcasts generally voice the debates of the issues and factors involved, whilst the individual stories in the video section present the human side of the issue.
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A helpful summary article defining terms and summarising the laws in different countries and jurisdictions. What’s the difference between euthanasia, assisted dying and assisted suicide? Which countries permit any of these variants? What’s the situation in the UK? How many people undergo euthanasia or assisted suicide? What does the UK public think about euthanasia and assisted suicide? Nicola Davis for The Guardian July 2019.Read More
(43 mins )
Dying with dignity or playing god? Assisted dying. Despite drawing support across a broad coalition on religious, medical and moral grounds, the question of legalising assisted dying in the UK remains unanswered. Today, we meet people immersed in both sides of the debate – and ask if Britain should give people the right to die.Play
(28 mins )
A discussion about advanced consent before symptoms from a medical condition take over. Ron Posno knows how he wants to die: on his own terms and with help from a healthcare professional. He’s an advocate for people with dementia and a volunteer with Dying with Dignity Canada from London, Ontario Jan 2020.Play
(20 mins )
Physician assisted dying in Canada, a talk by Grace Pastine, Civil Liberties Lawyer. Grace discusses why she believes critically ill individuals who are suffering unbearably from an incurable medical condition should have the right to choose a peaceful and dignified death. The case of Gloria Taylor in Canada who was suffering from MND. Gloria won the right to seek a compassionate death with the assistance of a doctor in 2015.Watch
(10 mins )
In Feb 2019, 80-year-old Geoff Whaley chose to end his life at Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. But, in an open letter posted to MPs written before his death – Geoff said the final weeks of his life had been blighted by visits from the UK social services and police after his wife faced criminal charges for assisting him in his journey to Switzerland. His family continue to petition for a change in the law on assisted suicide. This Morning.Watch
(11 mins )
Is Belgium pushing the boundaries of Euthanasia? With the most liberal laws in the world governing physician-assisted suicide, surveys in Belgium show overwhelming support for its legality. Doctors say euthanasia gives terminally ill patients experiencing constant and unbearable suffering a practical and humane way to die peacefully. But even in a country with far-reaching acceptance, controversy still remains.Watch
Emily is 24 years old and physically healthy but she find her life unbearable and wants her doctors to end her life. In Belgium doctor assisted death or euthanasia is now legal for mental suffering or psychiatric disorders. Is the right to die a basic human right for everyone ?Watch
Covering : Legalization/Legalization: Medical Perspectives/Legalization: Lawmakers’ Views/Vulnerable Groups/Hippocratic Oath/Legal Right/Slippery Slope/Palliative Care/Physician Obligation/Financial Motivations.Read Article
Extending euthanasia rights to children was a bad proposal because of misconceptions about voluntary euthanasia. Charles Foster for The ConversationRead Article
Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die Documentary
In a frank and personal documentary, author Sir Terry Pratchett considers how he might choose to end his life. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008, Terry wants to know whether he might be able to end his life before his disease takes over. Travelling to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland, Terry witnesses first-hand the procedures set out for assisted death, and confronts the point at which he would have to take the lethal drug.Go To Video
Questions for Debate
Do human beings have the right to be able to decide when and how they die ?
The most common religious argument against Euthanasia is that human beings are the sacred creation of God, so human life is by extension sacred. Do you agree?
Does euthanasia enable a person to die with dignity and in control of their situation or is proper palliative care enough to remove pain from people?
Society permits animals to be put down as an act of kindness when they are suffering; should the same treatment be available to humans?
Some terminally ill patients are in intractable pain and/or experience an intolerably poor quality of life. They would prefer to end their life rather than continue until their body finally gives up. Does the state have a right to deny them their wish?
Suicide is a legal act that is theoretically available to all. But a person who is terminally ill or who is in a hospital setting or is disabled may not be able to exercise this option — either because of mental or physical limitations. In effect, they are being discriminated against because of their disability. Should they be given the same access to the suicide option as able-bodied people have?
Would an increase in Euthanasia rates lead to worse care for the terminally ill?
Does Euthanasia put too much power in the hands of doctors, and damage the trust between patient and doctor?
What do you think about the slippery slope argument which is based on the idea that once a healthcare service, and by extension the government, starts killing its own citizens, a line is crossed that should have never been crossed and a dangerous precedent has been set.
Should mental anguish be enough to qualify for euthanasia?
Has Belgium gone too far in extending its he euthanasia laws to include children?
Hope these questions spark some debate !