If you think you have a say in what happens to your body, then you’re wrong. We spend our whole lives making decisions that shape our life and it’s entirely up to us, but when it comes time for us to die, we don’t even get a say in the matter. It should be our right to die when we want and how we want because after all, it is our body and our life. The debate on Euthanasia has made the public question the overall power we hold over our lives. Euthanasia is the purposeful and compassionate decision to advance a terminally ill person’s death for their benefit. Several arguments for this contemporary debate quickly began to surface declaring that this procedure is selfish and effects the sanctity of life. However it should not be someone else’s job to decide whether or not we can die. Terminally ill patients know the extent and pain of their condition enough to make a rational decision, while some patients have had their treatments discontinued and are forced to suffer unassisted until they eventually pass. Today I am going to add to this contemporary debate by saying that we as human beings should have the right to die.
People that are terminally ill are more experienced with the pain of their disease, are old enough and wise enough to make a legitimate decision to end their life through assisted suicide if they choose.
These patients that have been diagnosed as terminally ill for such an extended period of time have had to live through the pain and complications of their disease and will have to live with it indefinitely. Studies done in the UK have found that over 300 people suffering from a terminal illness could potentially take their own life as euthanasia is not legal. These studies apply heavily to Australian patients as well due to the increase of patients in long-term critical conditions. People over the age of 18 that have received such a severe diagnosis are fully capable of making a legitimate and rational decision to end their life through the means of assisted suicide if they choose. However, due to the fact that euthanasia is not legalised in Australia, several of these significantly ill individuals that desperately want to be euthanized have been forced to go to extreme and expensive measures to end their suffering. These physically unstable patients have either had to spend a fortune to travel to a euthanasia-legalised country to fulfil their wish or they must take matters into their own hands and take other methods to end their life. Our loved ones should have the right to die in the comfort of their own home surrounded by love but cannot because Australia refuses to legalise the Euthanasia Policy.
People have the right to die – it is their body and life – there is not an actual Right in the Human Rights that include this, but our other human rights imply this. Now if we look at Australia’s Human Rights Record, there is not a confirmed entitlement that we have the right to die, but there is several of the Human rights which imply that it is our choice. This can be confirmed by the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Article 6 that states ‘Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life’. These patients have this right just like everyone else sitting here today, but the word ‘arbitrarily’ indicates that their death will be based off of random selection and without reason which clearly is not the case with euthanasia and implies that it is a potential right of human beings. Euthanasia or assisted suicide is a purposeful, empathetic and incredibly difficult decision made by the patient and in some cases the family. The Queensland Human Rights Commission has enacted section 17 from their Human Rights documentation that states, ‘People must not be tortured. People must also not be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way. This includes protection from treatment that humiliates a person. This right also protects people from having medical treatment or experiments performed on them without their full and informed consent’. This commission act implies that euthanasia is not against the Human Rights Act as this end-of-life treatment is fully consensual by the terminally ill patient or their carers and family members who also have the right to choose for them if they are unfit. Although it is not in writing that we can choose to die when we want, these Human Rights infer that we still have a choice and that the end of our life is not dictated by the government. Afterall, is it not our body? Do we not have the right to choose when we die?
For some patients, the continuation of their treatment can be deemed to be of no medical benefit to them and that they will not get better, but only worse and euthanasia is the compassionate choice. While some terminally ill patients that desire to be euthanised are on life support and alternative medical life extensions, other severely diagnosed patients have had their physically supporting treatment discontinued as it is no longer deemed beneficial. This decision of cancelling life support causes more pain to our loved ones then what they are already experiencing. It is more compassionate and empathetic to end their suffering in a quick and painless alternate such as euthanasia. Now when one of our adored pets are on the brink of passing, we make the benevolent decision to end their life through a form of euthanasia. Are we not merciful enough to do that for our loved ones? We, as their family, should be able to give them that relief. Let our loved ones die with dignity.
Euthanasia must not be negatively scrutinized for random and unrealistic drawbacks when it provides so much relief and comfort to the patient and their family. Australia must fully legalise this medical treatment for the use of these terminally ill patients. As Australian citizens, we must reclaim the say in what happens to us at the end of our life and our families’ lives. I fully understand that this treatment goes against several religious beliefs, but I believe that we as human beings are mature and wise enough to make that decision for ourselves when the time comes. We have the right to die. No one should ever take that away from us. If you do not believe in euthanasia and don’t want to be euthanized then do not take that choice away from others that do.