the FREEDOM TO choose HAS LIMITS

The freedom to choose what we want to do with our lives and our bodies is a fundamentally important right. However, should our right to do what we want ever be limited? Arguably yes! We limit our rights every day in order to live in a safe and functioning society. Take for example an individual's choice to steal a car. Whilst the car thief may want to take your car, the law steps in and says that's not OK.

 

Euthanasia puts vulnerable people in harm's way

With respect to euthanasia the key question which has to be answered is whether an individual's choice to prematurely end their life will negatively impact others? In 2014, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom considered this question, and found that the risk to vulnerable people, including the elderly and the disabled, could not be rejected as "fanciful or unrealistic". That is Euthanasia puts vulnerable people at risk.

 

Risk to Disabled people

Baroness Campbell who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy as a child, persuasively argues against euthanasia saying:

You can be sure that there would be doctors and lawyers willing to support my right to die. Sadly, many would put their energies into that rather than improving my situation or helping me to change my mind. The [Euthanasia] Bill offers no comfort to me. It frightens me because, in periods of greatest difficulty, I know that I might be tempted to use it. It only adds to the burdens and challenges which life holds for me. However, it is not just about me. My story is echoed by the majority of disabled and terminally ill people in Britain today. - Baroness Campbell of Surbiton (18 July 2014)

 

Risk to Elderly people

There are two main risks to elderly people. The first is where an elderly person directly experiences overt pressure from friends and family to end their life. This type of pressure may occur, especially where there is money involved.

The second and more likely type of pressure an elderly person may experience is a lot more subtle. It includes the signals that relatives and others can send, albeit unconsciously, to a seriously-ill family member that they are a burden. It is easy in such circumstances for seriously ill people to feel a sense of obligation to remove themselves from the scene.