British Court Right -To- Die

The subject of right-to-die or right-to –live has always been a controversial and sensitive subject. Many feel that the person should ultimately make the decision of ending their life or not. A case involving this subject occurred in London and it concerned Britain’s definition of murder. In this news story, a severely disabled man who says his life has no “privacy or dignity” will be allowed to attend trial to receive a lethal injection willingly to end his life. Tony Nicklinson’s medical history involves a stroke which occurred in 2005. This stroke left him paralyzed and unable to move below his neck. He now requires constant care and utilizes his eyes for blinking during communication. Fortunately, Nicklinson’s mind is still alert and well even after the stroke. Sadly, instead of enjoying the life that he still has, Nicklinson has declared, “I am fed up with my life and don’t want to spend the next 20 years or so like this”! In January, Nicklinson petitioned the court to allow a doctor to lethally inject him without being charged for murder and the judge agreed to hear the case. This case is now the first right-to-die case of its kind to get a hearing in the  British court. The ministry of justice argued that granting Nicklinson’s request would have to result in an alternation of the law on murder and that such changes must be made by Parliament. The government had applied to have the case dismissed. Nicklinson argued that British law hindered his right to “private and family life” which is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. He argued this fact based on the grounds that being able to choose how to die is a matter of personal autonomy. Nicklinson’s wife,  Jane even agree with her husband’s suicide attempt and she stated that the only way to end her husband’s suffering is for him to die. After this case became public, British commission headed by a former justice secretary stated that  there was a strong case for allowing assisted suicide under strict criteria. My question is, how does someone establish “strict criteria” when it comes to suicide. This case would actually be considered assisted suicide, which is usually for people who have at least some capacity to kill themselves, perhaps by drinking a lethal beverage or taking a fatal dose of drugs. The commission recommended assisted suicide only be allowed for terminally ill people, which would exclude Nicklinson. Ultimately, Nicklinson’s argument depends on the “definition of necessity”. For example, what circumstances must occur for a person to be allowed to break the law. Being that many depressed or ill people may automatically assume that their current health condition calls for suicide, they lack efficient medical opinions to back up their argument. Overall, I disagree with allowing a doctor to kill someone because they want to commit suicide, it is murder because most likely, that person is not in the best shape emotionally or mentally to make such a permanent decision as this.

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