Saturday, April 3, 2010

Should we be allowed to choose when we die?

Should we have the right to die at a time and place of our own choosing? Two recent articles have prompted me to think about this. The first is a wonderfully written piece by fellow blogger wisewebwoman on her blog “The Other Side of Sixty”. Entitled “Voyage” the story is about a man who apparently one day decides to end his life in the ocean. The second article is in the current edition of Macleans magazine and is entitled “Maclean’s Interview: Bernice Packford” and features an interview with a 95-year old BC woman who wants to be able to legally choose the time and place of her death, assisted by a physician. My question in both instances is why not? The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees many rights for us in Canada, but this one fundamental right is not addressed. As a culture, we have difficulty with death, especially in someone who we feel has not reached the natural end of his/her life. And yet, for so many who live a painful, tortured existence, death would bring peace and an end to their pain. Who are we as a society to tell them they should not do that?  (Further reading can be found at the Death with Dignity National Center website.)

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