Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Assisted Suicide

Jane Brody has a moving argument for the ethical acceptability of assisted suicide in today's New York Times.

Most arguments for assisted suicide focus on relief of intractable pain. Arguments against it usually interpret the wish for death as a symptom of treatable depression or social isolation. Brody quotes from a letter she received from a thoughtful, related, ready-to-die 93 year old, to point towards an "existential" rationale for supporting the possibility of assisted suicide:

"Often the reasons are existential — recognition that their lives have lost all meaning, concern that they have become an undue burden to their loved ones, desire to avoid a protracted death or distress about the time and money being “wasted” in prolonging their lives, which are destined to end soon, anyway."

Assisted suicide is a very divisive issue. People of good will differ. But whatever our positions, journalism like Jane Brody's piece will widen our empathy.

No comments: