WickedEye's Quotient

7/25/2007 at 05:34

Death With Dignity, Personal Sovereignty, and Big Mouths

Today in my Bioethics class we discussed Oregon's "Death with Dignity" law and the Netherlands' euthanasia laws. And my classmate- I'll call him Jason- said, "I don't think there's a right to die. I don't think it's a personal decision. I think people have an obligation to medical science to live for as long as possible, because that's how we learn about disease and that's how medical science progresses."

I raised my hand and stated my opinion, but didn't attack his.

He raised his hand- and repeated himself.

And I lost my temper and said: "Saying there's no right to die is absurd and inaccurate. People do die. Some of them choose to by active suicide or refusal of treatment- but they die. Everyone dies. Everyone has a right to. Everyone will.

Saying that people have no right to die is a mischaracterization. And dishonest. What you're saying isn't that they have no right to die. It's that you have the right to say when they should die.

You're substituting your judgment for someone else's on what should happen to the body they live inside. You're denying the most basic principles of the autonomy of every human being to determine what happens inside his own skin. And that's a usurpation of personal sovereignty and profoundly contemptuous of the dignity and integrity of every human being."

And the professor said, "Well, we know how you feel."

And I said, "Yeah, making that clear has never been a problem."

And turned around to see my friend Bea grinning at me.

And thought, Okay, done talking in class for today.

But I'm still glad I said something.

Labels: , ,

Anonymous Calladus said...

Right on Scientiae. What I do with my body is my own business, as long as it doesn't affect anyone else.

I don't think that some sorts of suicide should be legal. Jumping off a building onto a street is wrong, because someone has to clean up your mess. (Sorry for the graphic.)

But if you've made plans for your proper 'disposal' then who is anyone to say that you are wrong? I can get a tattoo, get my ears pierced, even do major modifications on my body. Why should I not be able to take my life too?  


Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License.