#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
The Morality of Assisted Suicide

The ‘Right to Die’ was recently embraced by Emmanuel Macron, the French President. France is now set to join a list of countries where euthanasia is legally permissible, although the conditions are to be stricter compared to other countries. On the contrary, India still views abetment to suicide and attempts to commit suicide as illegal. So which of these countries are in the ‘right’? I believe neither are.


From a casual perspective, it does seem that countries that allow it are right, as they are acting according to the wishes of the patient, who may no longer wish to prolong their suffering due to an illness. If that is so, then why was Canada under scrutiny for the violation of human rights for their MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) scheme? The problems arise when you realise that choices made independently and without influence are often influenced by factors unaccounted for. Conditions like the financial status and availability of support often influence the ‘uninfluenced’ decisions made by the people who choose to take this option. In a simplistic case, people who are more wealthy can afford to have a prolonged and specialty treatment and have access to a broader range of options. On the other hand, someone who may not have that privilege will see this option as an ‘easy way out.’ In 2022, a 51-year-old woman from Ontario chose to tragically give up on her life as she was unable to find housing that helped with her medical condition. Was this an individual exercising their right of choice, or the failure of societal structure, where governments can avoid taking accountability for not providing for its citizens? There are many such cases, where the option was taken because of failures on multiple levels. 


Furthermore, according to a study, it was also shown that at many times, access to assisted suicide was prioritised over the treatment of the patient. There were also tragic oversights regarding the ‘terminal’ condition of an illness. Life and death have become almost commercialised, which was seen when a report, by the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer of Canada, was published showing how the country would be saving almost 87 million CND. Again, people relying on the government are more exposed as compared to people who have access to private insurance and better healthcare.  


So is the criminalisation of the act the better way to go about the entire issue? The Indian Supreme Court ruled that the Right to Life does not give an individual the Right to Die. It has also been said that if euthanasia were to be legalised, then there would be cases where the family or close ones of the concerned could use it to their advantage to gain access to the property or other possessions. This would also be a lucrative proposal to the private medical sector which already sentences people, who are not very well off, to their death, when they cannot afford treatment. If there was money to be made on this act, they would more than likely jump to the opportunity. In that regard, I believe that the Supreme Court was right in not giving the citizens the Right to Die considering the broader implications of the act.


However, this does not mean that attempting suicide should be seen as a criminal offence. Overworked professionals, distressed students, the elderly who have been given up on by their families, and people who have suffered are not criminals. They are vulnerable, and conditions beyond their control have pushed them to consider this avenue. They should not be labelled as wrongdoers but as victims of others’ wrongdoing. Not to mention that suicidal tendencies are often seen among patients with schizophrenia, depression, and other mental illnesses. We fail them when we book them under Penal Codes and burden them with court cases. The aim should be to help and not to violate. 


In the end, while I do agree that euthanasia should be an option, it should be one taken by one’s will and not because they were forced into it, and it should certainly not be seen as a cost-cutting measure. Going to the polarising opposite, and criminalising the act is doing more harm than good. It should be considered that these people are the most vulnerable in society, and we should aim to help them, rather than shoehorn them into taking their own lives. 


As I conclude, I would like to state the words said by Sathya Dhara Kovac, who underwent assisted suicide. “It was not an illness which killed me, it was a system.” 


Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in