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Should we have the right to take our own life? Examine the main issues of the debate. Introduction Talk of suicide and euthanasia has long been the focus of media attention

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Should we have the right to take our own life? Examine the main issues of the debate. Introduction Talk of suicide and euthanasia has long been the focus of media attention. Recently this debate has been furthermore justified with the advent of European clinics that specialise in professional mercy killings for the terminally ill and those suffering incurable pain. To add to this, suicide rates in this country are ever increasing, with this being one of the ten most common causes of death in the UK. More worrying is the increasingly high number of adolescent youth and young men, who being particularly prone to depression, take their own lives. With the fact that it is still deemed as morally wrong, it must be debated that if we do have the right to die, why then, we can not exercise this right through terminal illness. In this essay I will attempt to discuss the implications as to who has the right to decide if we have a right to end our lives. I will look at this from an ethical and moralistic viewpoint as well as examining the legal rights. I will put the case that in a fully democratically society, such as where we allegedly live what is considered to be reasonable. ...read more.


As a result euthanasia remains illegal in Britain. However, society's attitude to death has shifted still further since then. In the view of some moral philosophers and increasing numbers of the general public, to decide for death over life can be the rational choice of a sane individual. In some instances death has come to be seen as a moral good. The understanding of this change cannot be underestimated. Its roots lie in a changed perception of human identity and autonomy. The recent case of Diane Pretty who went to the European Convention on Human Rights to allow her husband to assist her to commit suicide has highlighted an issue which many try to ignore. This request was refused. This should have been seen as a cry for help and her own rights, in a democratic society ought to be heard. Now because nobody wants to take the responsibility for her death, she must continue to suffer with the incurable Motor Neurone Disease In a similar case, 17 year old Tony Bland was left in a permanent vegetative state after the Hillsborough disaster. His parents and the medical staff treating him, fought for nearly five years to be given the right to switch off his life support machine. The defence argument was basically 'who has the right to act as God'. ...read more.


But euthanasia and assisted suicide should not be deemed the same. National Health Service Economics should never come into this decision and it is grossly unfair that many elderly or infirm patients have 'Do Not Resuscitate' notices above their hospital bed. Everyone, irregardless of age should have the right to life. In the same sense we should have a right to death. Many in the medical profession believe Dr Shipman had the right idea, but none of his elderly victims were terminal and would have all had at least ten more years of life. Unfortunately, the privileged position doctors hold gives them a license to do what they see fit. How, in a civilised country like the UK was he able to murder over 170 patients before suspicion was aroused? This is ultimately the problem. How many other vulnerable patients, who respect their doctors, have been killed this way? With this in mind, it is extremely difficult for the courts to decide if those requesting imminent death are truly in sound mind. I would like to see legislation changed to respect patients like Diane Pretty without her having to go through legal arguments for her wishes to be respected. This is truly a difficult debate but the key point I wish to make is that everyone should have the right to die with dignity and we should respect this last wish rather than preserve them against their will with virtually no quality of life. ...read more.

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