This article, may or may not disenfranchise some of my readers. It is true that in many cases, I speak from a conservative viewpoint, and I consider myself to be right of centre on most issues.
Nonethless, as an agnostic, and from what I perceive as a rationally informed perspective, I cannot lie about my views on euthanasia, in particular when it is voluntary.
As a whole, in Australia at least, I believe that the current illegality of voluntary euthanasia, is a highly unfortunate and unnecessary situation that we find ourselves in. According to Lindy Willmott, professor of law at Queensland university, voluntary euthanasia is “where, in response to a person’s express request, they seek assistance to die and that assistance will be provided by someone else and in most of the legal regimes around the world that someone else is going to be a doctor”. Often, critics of those aiming to legalise voluntary euthanasia, claim that there can be a vague difference voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, and may lead to old and sick people being taken advantage of and being potentially murdered.
Moreover, some people claim that any act of euthanasia is morally wrong, in terminating the life of a human being, regardless of their disease or state of health.
I used to hold a similar point of view. But some personal experiences, have forced me to change this opinion. Earlier this year, I went into the emergency department of an Australian hospital to visit an injured friend. It was one of my first major experiences in such an environment, being largely surrounded by dying and elderly people. One after one, I witnessed old, white Australians, people who had lived through our most exciting and promising era, being hurled into the emergency department, whilst an overwhelming sense of inevitability and death suffocated the room. Furthermore, ideas of replaceability among these sick people was sadly undeniable, as I saw loved ones farewelling their grandfathers, grandmothers and others, saying goodbye to a living being that in many cases had descended into unrecognisable state of weakness and old age. Moreover, I have witnessed the decline of my own grandparents, who are currently in a nursing home and bear virtually no resemblance to their past selves. Obviously ageing and death are unavoidable parts and of life. However, the way modern medicine works, the human body is being pushed to places where previously it would not have have gone, and in my opinion this has had some negative consequences.
The right to life for anyone, whether they are terminally ill or in perfect health, should always be guaranteed. Someone having values and beliefs that lead them to morally oppose euthanasia, should never have such a procedure forced upon themselves, and under no circumstances should this ever occur. Nevertheless, in my view, just as a person should have a right to life, so should the right to death be easily attainable to those who desire it.
It is a moral crime, that even as I write, thousands of terminally ill Australians, who have worked tirelessly to build this country, have no option to end their own life, regardless of any possible agony they may be going through.
It is unjustifiable, to force a person to live when they have no desire to, and it is a violation of human rights.
I understand religious reasons can be a factor behind opposing all euthanasia. I respect this, however, I challenge those who oppose all attempts to legalise euthanasia, including voluntary, to spend a day in a nursing home, or even an hour, and witness the pain suffered by these people.
As I said, I respect opponents of voluntary euthanasia, and their arguments, however for me this issue is a matter of choice, and dignity, for people who are too often denied these vital things.