Originally Posted by valanhb
In reading this thread (and nodding quite a bit), I have to wonder if the commonality in most of our beliefs that this should at least be a choice offered to people is because we are pet guardians (not just pet owners, but their guardians). I know this is something we have all at least thought about, helped people through their decision, and/or had to decide ourselves with our pets. It's not an easy decision by any means, no matter what species. But how many times have we (collectively) said that the kindest option when they are in pain, suffering, without chance of recovering to a good quality of life is euthanasia? We recognize the look in our animal companion's eyes when it is time, when the will to live is gone and they have accepted the inevitable. We know what the loving thing is to do for them; to end their pain even though it means that our own pain must begin. We do that for them without ever thinking that it isn't the right thing to do.
If we think of it in these terms for our companion animals, it makes sense to me that we would think in the same terms for our human companions.
This is so true. I've often said that the only right that animals have that humans don't, is to be put out of their suffering and misery if the need is there. We can extend this kind of empathy and love to a dying animal, why can't we do the same with dying humans? Does having higher reasoning ability exempt us from the same kind of compassion?
In my job I have seen so many people die horrible, dreadful, prolonged deaths due to cancer and other shattering diseases such as motor-neuron diseases. We should have a choice to end our lives with dignity and empowerment, and not to have to wither away, suffering a prolonged, desperate existence, and we should have the right to spend our last time on earth not in pain and misery but in peace and tranquility.
Originally Posted by Tru87
Ok, being largely interested in bio-medical ethics - my conclusion is that your fear is unsubstantiated, show me the force in your slippery slope argument.
Show me how it will lead to abuse.
Three words. Dr Harold Shipman.
Whilst uncommon, it is certainly not rare for people in positions of medical authority to have been found guilty of murdering their patients. It happens more often than you might think. I think what Cindy is getting at is that if voluntary euthanasia were to be legalised, these kinds of crimes would not only become much harder to target, there is definitely a potential for killers to come crawling out of the woodwork because the legal part of their job has been taken care of for them.
I'm not saying that would definitely happen, but the potential is certainly there, without any doubt. It is not a slippery slope argument at all, but a genuine and definitely plausible potentiality. Too many people, when given a legal loophole (as it were) would be too quick to jump at the opportunity it presents. This has been demostrated time and time again, with hindsight being the only evidence and the only warning.