27 May Right to Live
Recently, a woman in her twenties who had suffered sexual abuse as a child, was given a lethal injection at her own request to die. Her psychiatrists and doctors all felt it was in her best interest that she be allowed to choose this eternal sleep, despite the fact that she was considered mentally ill. She also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression, anorexia, and hallucinations. However, after intensive therapy, she had shown signs of improvement. She wanted to die, as do many patients with mental illness, which can also be diagnosed as a cry for help. But Dutch law concerning euthanasia only requires that her conditions be incurable. Who can really determine what mental illness is incurable; or that at some point in the future she might find her life worth living?
These “mercy killings” can now be used as a cure for sexual abuse, one British MP against the practice believes. England is at odds with whether to create their own laws for choosing death. Many of Her Majesty’s citizens have been travelling to Switzerland to “Digitas”, a center where you can go to die by choice, without any laws to stop you. Many countries with euthanasia laws have begun with a strict “no death for mental patients” clause, but slowly it has become more accepted.
Where do we draw the line on a person’s right to choose? A recent study on doctor assisted death for people with psychiatric disorders, found that many of them cited loneliness as one of the major factors in desiring to die. How do you quantify loneliness to the degree of knowing one is lonely enough to be incurable? If that’s the case, we should really start labelling suicide as the right to die also. What difference does it really make if a doctor helps you or not? Especially since there are now doctors set up just for the practice of euthanasia. That is what they do, so that is what they will encourage their patients to do. Best interest has nothing to do with it.
When you are in the depths of sorrow and loneliness, it is a vortex of darkness and pain. You can’t imagine ever clawing your way out of the darkness, let alone feeling the sunshine. Many millions of people have been there…Mentally ill and wanting to die.Thankfully, through friends and family, therapy and medicine, they have continued clawing, and some have even found happiness. Like me. What if my doctors or family had given up on me; had agreed that there was no hope, and let me choose to die? I would never have known what could have been. These laws did nothing more than rob this vulnerable young woman of her future. Can we really call that mercy?