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Beyond the Pages: Assisted Suicide

Sunday, March 20, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

Beyond the Pages is a feature where I share my views on life issues or problems that books have made me think about. It's a discussion-based feature, and I hope to hear your views regarding these topics, and engage with me on the things that matter. If there's one thing that books can do, it is to spread awareness of big issues. 

The Book That Brought This Topic Up 

I recently read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I watched the movie trailer, which gave me incentive to read the book, and I just couldn't stop reading it! Towards the end of the book though, there's a lot of discussion on the right to assisted suicide. I felt my views waver, shake and consistently challenged as I kept reading - there are so many arguments for all sides of this topic! 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

What This Book Is About

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time. 

What Me Before You Made Me Think About

Firstly, let's define some key terms. Assisted suicide refers to patients suffering from an incurable disease being helped in their will to kill themselves. Another closely related term is physician assisted suicide, where patients are permitted to take doctor-prescribed lethal drugs for their death. In many countries, assisted suicide is illegal - Australia, Britain, Zimbabwe are a few countries where it's illegal. However, in Switzerland.... assi
sted suicide is legal. From this, it's apparent that assisted suicide is a topic that many people contrast on.

Many people think that assisted suicide shouldn't be legal because of a variety of reasons. This includes religious reasons - suicide is a sin, and the person committing suicide will not be able to go to heaven if they commit this sin. There are also moral reasons that follow the same path - suicide is wrong, therefore assisted suicide should not be allowed. Furthermore, if it is physician assisted suicide, there are also more factors that need to be considered. Firstly, there are those religious and moral reasons. Then there is the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath isn't a set law/oath that doctors have to uphold nowadays, in the legal sense, but it's generally expected that doctors have a duty to do no harm. To some people, doctors assisting a patient in suiciding could violate this obligation - and hence physician-assisted suicide is considered wrong. Finally, considerations on the patient's mental health is another factor that brings people to consider assisted suicide as wrong. If a patient is depressed for example, they may be suicidal. Helping them commit suicide can be considered

We also need to consider why other people think that assisted suicide should be legalised. The pain that many people go through when dealing with terminal illness can be overwhelming, and to them, it may be better for the pain to just end. They may want to die with dignity - so that their friends and family can remember them as they are, not a shell of what they used to be. The same could be said of close friends and relatives, who don't wish to see their close friend or family suffering anymore. Secondly, people could see assisted suicide as a right, because ultimately, a person should have control of their own body, and if they want to end their life, they should be able to, with the help of a close friend/relative. 

Ultimately, assisted suicide is a hugely complex matter, and there are just so many arguments for and against it. I actually have no idea how I feel about it. Do you have any thoughts on it? Do you think that there are any other factors that I've missed out on? Let me know in the comments below! 

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