The Victorian government is considering legalizing euthanasia – something I believe is long overdue.
Some people have serious reservations about legalizing it. While I disagree, I understand where they’re coming from.
People have concerns about the elderly being pressured into ending their life by family who consider it a burden to care for them. They are also concerned about how legalizing euthanasia gives doctors a license to kill and about the capacity of seriously depressed people to make such a decision.
While I understand these concerns, I do not believe they warrant taking away a person’s right to die with dignity.
At the moment, I have no wish to end my life. However, I know what it is like to pray every night not to wake up the next morning. Being alive does not mean you have a reasonable quality of life. Sometimes, you are forced to exist with your dignity stripped away and nothing to hope for in the future.
I know this is a contentious issue. Many of my good friends would disagree with my point of view.
Perhaps with improving palliative care euthanasia may be unnecessary. But my experience is that efforts in such care make you feel subhuman, insignificant and hopeless.
My health has improved dramatically and I look forward to many years of living. However, there will come a time when I am little more than a piece of meat being poked, prodded and kept alive with no hope of any meaningful future. At that point, I believe I have the right to die with dignity – and legalizing euthanasia is the only way to enact this right.
Yes, appropriate safeguards need to be put in place, but I believe that dying is as much a human right as living.