TED Conversations

Renzo Bruni

This conversation is closed.

What stands in the way of allowing assisted suicide in first world countries?

The Netherlands and three states in the US (Oregon, Montana and Washington) have decriminalized assisted suicide, and this was done with co-operation of their local medical (professional) communities. China, in fact, announced a plan to prosecute monks who allowed a fellow monk to immolate himself in protest. Why is this so confusing: does not the right to life imply a right to self termination?
Why is this considered ethically wrong in secular Western democracies? Is it because of political expediency? Are the populations afraid to allow it? Is it morality or fear that maintains the prohibition?
I am definitively NOT addressing the (many) cases of teens, depressed and deranged persons whose impulse to suicide can be made better by therapy or medications. I too deplore these needless deaths and all the suffering that leads up to it.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Aug 30 2011: The idea of "sanctity of life" and people forcing their beliefs on others is another reason why. Although thinking about it, it could be greed - killing yourself saves you from a long stay in hospital with a terminal illness, which earns people money. To be honest, I'm really not sure why this is considered illegal. We put down animals when they have medical conditions that make life unbearable for them.
    • thumb
      Aug 30 2011: @ Llewelyn - fascinating viewpoint.... I am surprised to see the issue turned around this way, but I actually think you might be RIGHT, at least about one of the primary advertising themes - and who benefits from it. Compelling observation, thank you.
      I actually am faced with the impending demise of a cherished dog I whelped and raised (with some help from her dam). She has seen me through a long illness, sleeping at my side with a paw on my arm to be sure she would wake when I did during the night. Her lymphoma will hack relentlessly at her health until I realize in a sudden dam-bursting moment that "it is time" to let her go. I have done it several times before and I find it wrenchingly sad, but very decent and appropriate.

      Like you, I fail to see why it is not as decent and appropriate for humans that we love also.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.