Is Assisted Suicide Murder or Mind Your Own Business?

In Columns, Nation

The Terri Schiavo case, sensationalized by the media in 2005, brought to light a very controversial subject. Do we have a right to kill ourselves? Also, if we are unable to carry out this deed, should we be allowed to appoint someone else? Should there be someone to ensure that our wishes be fulfilled, regardless of why? I say yes, we should have that inherent right. Especially if it’s drawn out in the form of a living will.There was no such documentation in the Schiavo case. This caused a court battle between Terri’s husband, Michael and Terri’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler. Michael Schiavo contested that his wife expressed wishes not to be kept on life support. That is, with no hope of improvement. The Schindlers wanted, of course, to keep their daughter alive. As long as possible. In 1990, while at home, Terri went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics tried repeatedly to resuscitate her until they were finally successful. Too much time had elapsed since her brain received oxygen. Resulting in extensive brain damage.

She was diagnosed with a persistent vegetative state and institutionalized for 15 years. Was this a humane way for her to spend the rest of her days? Eventually, Terri’s husband said enough and started the procedure to remove the feeding tube that Terri needed to sustain her life. Her parents fought this vigorously all the way to the Florida Second District Court of Appeals. However, Michael Schiavo won out in the end and Terri’s feeding tubes removed. Thus, ending a miserable existence encumbered to any human.

We should not be kept alive for the sake of others. Even if it means our continual suffering. Is it a form of murder to assist someone who desires death over current circumstance? Michigan thought so and in 1999 charged and convicted Dr. Jack Kevorkian with second-degree murder. Kevorkian helped a man named Thomas Youk. Youk was in the final stages of ALS, (Lou Gehrig’s disease) but still possessed decisional capabilities. He could not, because of his condition, press the button to allow certain chemicals to be released into his system. So Kevorkian did it and it was aired on an episode of 60 Minutes. Kevorkian had sympathy for people with terminal diseases and sought to help those who couldn’t otherwise kill themselves.

I believe in protecting personal autonomy. Allowing an individual to do with his/her body as they wish. If they want to inject foreign substances into their veins: send a bullet traveling 1,730 feet per second into their cranium or any numerous ways to ‘off’ oneself. It should be their inherent right to do so.

Is God the determining factor on when someone dies? It seems to me that doctors are the ones who determine that. Especially with people on life support. Were these people supposed to die? Are doctors actually violating the natural occurrence of death? Heaven is explained as a beautiful place of love and peace for eternity. Why would anyone or any organization, (Right To Life) want to keep someone away from this?

Assisted suicide is not a violation of God. Just a quicker path. It is not a violation of others as well. When we die, we do no harm to society, but only cease to do any more good. Our responsibility to do good is reciprocally related to any benefit we receive from society. We are not obliged to do a small well for society at the expense of great harm to ourselves.

All assisted suicides are done for good personal reasons. Since we have a strong natural fear of death, it would require an equally strong motive to overcome that fear. To respect personal autonomy and not have people assert their personal beliefs allowing intervention of such an event. People should mind their own business and not thwart an act which is so final.


Jeff Payne

writer, videographer, freedom fighter
[email protected]

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