Assisted Suicide is not the solution to anything. There are just too many unspoken problems with Assisted Suicide. And while many of us might be quick to dismiss any arguments against Assisted Suicide, we may actually find that all it takes is a little clear thinking to realize that being in favor of Assisted Suicide is to dangerously discard some very fundamental principles, without which some of the deepest things that make us human are subtly and viciously attacked. So for your consideration, here are 10+ problems with Assisted Suicide:
1. Because we are alive, we can correctly say that we have a Right to Life, which should justly be protected. Indeed, this Right is our primary Right from which all others descend. Now, to say we have a Right to Assisted Suicide is to say that we are entitled to a Right to Die. In principle, we cannot say we have a Right to Die, for it is an utter violation of our first and foremost Right (our Right to Life) and all Rights that descend from it.
2. By some extraordinary reason, from the beginning of our existence, we did not have the Right to choose our own life’s beginning. It is given, which is why we can also correctly state that it is a gift. Say it’s from nature. Say it’s from God. Whatever may be the case, to say there exists a Right to Die is to disregard the gift. Does not it seem inconsiderate of us toward nature to say we have a Right to directly choose our own death?
3. To say that we are entitled to a Right to Die implies that others must necessarily have a Right to Kill, namely doctors. This Right to Kill is a power granted by law for others to legally kill other innocent people. This is barbaric at its roots, and a very dangerous principle for a culture to embrace. It is even more shocking to imagine how this Right to Kill will inevitably be abused at the expense of the vulnerable.
4. To suggest that Assisted Suicide should exist under strict criteria is really saying this: If I meet such and such a set of criteria, then I am actually better off dead. Even if I don’t want to die, I must face the cultural pressure to end my life because the standards have been set. I am simply not worth keeping alive. I am less human and possess less dignity than all those who are not better off dead. This rejects the principle that human dignity is inherent by my very humanity, not some set of subjective criteria that judges whether someone’s life is worth living or not.
5. Assisted Suicide places a value on something priceless. It puts a price on human life, especially the lives of people with disabilities or chronic ailments. As soon as we say that some lives should end while others should not, we say that some lives are more valued than others. Since when was it acceptable to be so blind as to judge the value of one over another? Our modern society has worked so hard to embrace equality and to reject racism, sexism, ableism, and discrimination. Would you not say it is a thoughtless and blind society that would be in favor of reversing such progress?
6. The notion that strict criteria of eligibility for Assisted Suicide can actually be enforced is an absolute absurdity, especially in countries with legal systems based on precedent. As soon as we say that some people are eligible for assisted suicide, while others are not, we actually discriminate and can never argue that the Right to Die should not extend to all people, regardless of age or condition. Once Assisted Suicide is granted as a Right to some, it must necessarily be granted to all, anytime, for any reason.
7. Similarly, when the prevailing idea is that Assisted Suicide is acceptable, then there can never be an argument against suicide in general because it sets up a double standard. Our world is plagued with mental illness, depression, and woundedness, the ingredients to suicidal men, women, and children. Suicide is a major social problem that is more rampant than ever before. Think of all the social work, counselling, and medical aid that goes into addressing this problem. Then ask what Right social workers, counsellors, and doctors have to dare to discourage or “treat” those who simply want to die. Suicide won’t be a social problem. It will be socially praised as “heroic”. Ask any parent who has suffered the tragedy of a child’s suicide whether it is our duty to intervene.
8. When a lethal dose of drugs becomes just another treatment option on the same level as other treatments, then the cheaper and quicker alternative will be pushed by doctors, health care facilities, health ministries, insurance companies, and governments because it saves millions, if not billions of dollars. The cheaper alternative is a lethal dose. Make no mistake, to those in power, Assisted Suicide is not about Human Rights at all. To those in power, Assisted Suicide is nothing more than a cost saving agenda goal, which again ends up putting a price on the vulnerable and dying.
9. When Assisted Suicide becomes just another treatment option, then it will fall to the decision of parents, who are legally obligated to make medical choices for their children. How far of a stretch is it to consider the stark possibility that someday soon there will be no such thing as a parent of a child with a disability or cognitive difficulty? If abortion is already pushed upon parents of an unborn child with a disability, why not also Assisted Suicide, because it follows the exact same principle, and we’re doing it already.
10. Sadly, when a lethal dose of drugs becomes a treatment option on the same plane as other treatments, then research and development will never go into those alternative treatments. The fallout is that medical research and medicine will stagnate and there will never be a demand to make technologies that treat conditions that can be resolved by Assisted Suicide. The result is none other than anti-progress in medicine, a colossal first in medical history.
11. Assisted Suicide violates language, for it falsely defines courage, mercy, and compassion. True courage is to suffer boldly and to face fear to the end. True mercy and compassion is to go to all ethical ends to alleviate pain, but more importantly, to journey and suffer with another because to be human means precisely to depend wholly on other humans. We are most human when were are there for one another. On the contrary, when we call life short or walk away from serving each other, even in pain and hardship, that is when we’re least human. A beautiful world is one where we are human to each other and language remains rich and true. A foully dreadful world is one where humans reject their mutual dependence and twist the beauty of language.
12. Natural death will become even more taboo. Nobody likes to talk about death. No doubt, Assisted Suicide is a tempting and attractive option because it gives us the security of believing we have control in the face of the unknown. If Assisted Suicide is my solution to my fear of natural death, then I have solved my own problem, but have successively made it worse for everyone else after me. It may be gradual, but in the long run, I have contributed to making the general experience of natural death even more foreign, terrifying, and repulsive. The human experience of natural death will be looked upon in disdain, and our culture will sever itself from the formerly universal experience with all of human history of natural death.
13. Our disconnect with natural death will mean a disconnect with life. Both life and death are of the same mystery, and when our awe is absent from one, it is absent in both. Therefore, a disconnect with death will mean a disconnect, disregard, and disrespect for life, the result of which is that dignity (in death and life) is not given, but rather stripped. The natural conclusion is that life itself is meaningless and no one really has inherent value and when that is the case, then any claim to Human Rights is perfectly senseless since without inherent human dignity, there is no basis for Rights to be granted.
So, do we truly have a Right to Die and is Assisted Suicide a good idea? Please think about it.
~ The Catholic Gentleman's Guide