Offering assisted suicide and/or euthanasia to some who want it would create a burden of proof for many other chronically or terminally ill individuals to prove that their lives are worth continuing. When some parts of society see the availability of euthanasia and or assisted suicide as a much cheaper and faster solution, it becomes more expedient to use it. This is also a question of how we want future generations to die: do we want to live in a culture that promotes death as medical treatment, or one that respects life and does not prolong it beyond its natural length, as current laws allow? To allow euthanasia and/or assisted suicide would also permanently damage the doctor/patient relationship for many patients who opt for life while their doctor offers death as their recommended treatment option.
Research shows that individuals who ask for assisted suicide or euthanasia rarely do so for physical reasons. The primary reasons are psychological and emotional, and these conditions are readily treatable today.
Canadians already have many rights at the end of their life. Under current law, they have the legal right to:
- refuse treatment
- withdraw treatment
- create a living will
- create a do not resuscitate order
These same laws already allow a certain level of autonomy and control. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are unnecessary legal entanglements. They foster concerns over individual’s rights at the end of life, as if those rights listed above did not exist.
Finally, the international examples show us that no law surrounding these issues currently operating anywhere in the world can legislate against future abuses of that law. Switzerland and the Netherlands are examples of this.
Since many of the reasons why people ask for assisted suicide or euthanasia are themselves treatable, should we not make every effort to help people recover hope, so that they can die at peace with themselves and their families, when their natural last day arrives?
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