At what point should euthanasia be the end?

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Published in the October 12, 2016 issue of The Bells

Assisted suicide remains a heavily-debated topic throughout the world. Recently, a minor in Belgium chose this method to end his life.

Belgium remains the most liberal country in the world when it comes to assisted suicide.  Patients can request physician-assisted suicide due to a terminal illness or a psychiatric condition.

Now, almost five people a day die from physician-assisted suicide.  But assisted suicide is not a black and white issue. In the United States, five states allow doctor-assisted suicides including Oregon, Washington, Vermont, New Mexico, and Montana. Patients must be terminally ill (expected to live no more than six months), be of sound mind, and able to administer the pills on their own.

What constitutes the word terminal? Many people live months, years, and sometimes decades after they are given only months to live. A person who is diagnosed with a terminal disease may decide to die even though they could live months or even years more. Life is a gift from God and once we open the door to assisted suicide we are opening the door to devaluing life—a life that was paid for by the pain and suffering of Christ.

The question now becomes: at what point does life become not worth living? And I think the answer is never. God knew us before we were even born. Surely, with modern technology, there is a way to relieve a patient’s suffering without going to the point of suicide. I understand why patients who are terminally ill and in great affliction want to end their lives. And my heart cries out for them because of the pain they are experiencing.  However, according to Time Magazine, more people seek out assisted suicide because they worry about being a burden to their loved ones and friends. There should never be a point where a person feels like such a burden that they want to end their life.

Movies such as the highly-popular summer chick flick, Me Before You, romanticize assisted suicide.

In the movie, wealthy Will Traynor is planning on going through a physician-assisted suicide in the next six months because he is paralyzed. Louisa Clarke, his caregiver, decides to convince him to change his mind during this time and falls in love with him. But even though Will loves her too, he selfishly decides to go through with his physician-assisted death.

This movie portrays the message that dying is better than living with a disability, which is troubling. A person can still have a fulfilling life while being disabled.

Assisted suicide is a tough subject. Should patients be given the opportunity to choose the date of their own death or wait until they die naturally? I personally believe that life is a gift, and we should spend it with our family and friends, not committing suicide.

Author: Lauren Lum

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