Should the terminally ill be allowed to die on their own terms?

The recent assisted suicide of Brittany Maynard in the U.S. has reignited the debate surrounding how and when we should die. Although assisted suicide is legal in Holland and Switzerland, it remains illegal in many parts of the world. Should the terminally ill be allowed to end their suffering, or should we let fate decide when their time is up?



You don’t often hear about doctors assisting those who want to die. This is mostly because doctors are trained to save lives, not end them.

Brittany Maynard, 29, is the new face of this generation’s movement of assisted suicide.

The California native and a former teacher made worldwide headlines recently for her decision to end her life following the diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. She died as planned on Nov. 1. 

Maynard did not want her family to watch her progressively get worse, and decided that death with dignity was the best option for her and her family.

“Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind,” Maynard said in her editorial on

Why couldn’t she have taken advantage of her young and healthy body and see how far she could have gone?

It’s understandable that those who are in severe pain with a terminal disease would like to end their lives, but their life expectancy is just an estimated guess and can go on for longer if they try to fight.

Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, an ancient pledge to do no harm when they begin to practice medicine. Physicians must always fight to save lives, otherwise, they’d be violating their oath.

An excerpt from the classic version of the Hippocratic Oath written by Hippocrates says, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”

The promotion of assisted suicide sends a message to society that taking one’s own life is acceptable. What if the pain is mental? Should depressed or manic people be allowed to choose death too?  Who rules on whether a patient is mentally competent to decide to end their own life? Can someone suffering from extreme pain even make a rational decision?

Suicide is never the answer in any case.

Life ends when it should. Mortals shouldn’t play God. 



On Nov. 1, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard decided to die with dignity after being diagnosed with inoperable and incurable brain cancer on New Year’s Day.

Anyone who has seen a loved one die of a debilitating disease knows how hard it is to see their body waste away, their personality change, and watch the life drain out of them. Sometimes it is easier to “pull the plug” rather than endure the suffering.

Dying with dignity is an important option that everyone deserves.

Society has no problem euthanizing shelter animals, simply because there is not enough resources available to care for them, or they have been up for adoption for too long.

But when a consenting, terminally ill adult wishes to end his or her own life on their own terms, there is controversy.

People who wish to die with dignity should be able to request and receive a prescription from a doctor for medication that they would take to end their life if it becomes unbearable.

The patient would have the choice to die at home in peace, surrounded by loved ones rather than in a hospital room under the cold glare of fluorescent strip lights.

Put yourself in Brittany Maynard’s shoes. You’re 29 years old, been married to the love of your life for one year, and you are working on starting a family.

You have just found out that you have brain cancer, and have six months to live. Do you want to die? Of course not, your life has just begun.

Would you rather die in peace, or would you want to let a disease slowly rob you of your life?

Those who wish to die with dignity sometimes travel to countries such as the Netherlands or Switzerland.

Assisted suicide became legal in Holland in 2002. The law there requires the patient be at least 12 years old, be suffering unbearable pain or an incurable disease, and their wish to die with dignity must be written in their will.

When you can’t be cured, you should be allowed to put an end to your suffering and die with dignity.

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