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By Kevin Yuill (auth.)

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Extra resources for Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization

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The implication for the patient, similarly, is validation of their suffering. In the past, religious figures comforted the dying by rationalizing suffering as part of God’s plan. Now, should assisted suicide be institutionalized, physicians will provide an end to depression and mental suffering (as we shall see, physical suffering plays very little role in requests for assisted suicide) by offering death as a medical treatment. The change in terminology reflects an important shift away from moral responsibility for the act.

There is a certain amount of legal support for such a right. ’ But a ‘right to life’ is as problematic as the ‘right to die’. What sort of life do we mean? Do we really mean bare sentience, where a person exists only in a biological sense? How can someone exercise a ‘right to life’, particularly when faced with a deadly disease? And we must ask the question that appears throughout this book, what do we mean by ‘life’? In fact, all the right to life really implies is a sanction against killing (we will expand upon this discussion in Chapter 5).

Alternately, suppose I agreed, upon meeting him with the offending 18 Assisted Suicide shirt, that I should be killed for my lack of loyalty and for now supporting such a ridiculous football team. Suppose I then asked him for his gun and shot myself. These two very different acts might be construed as assisted dying (to satisfy Dignity in Dying criteria, let us also say that, at the time, I had fewer than six months to live), though, in a court of law, the former would be murder and the latter suicide.

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