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Stories Learn about the stories of everyday Canadians who have inspired us in our work. Become a Defender of Dignity Monthly contributions allow us to more effectively improve quality of dying and help Canadians avoid unwanted suffering. Personal Stories. Read Adam's Story.

There were tears, of course, but also much laughter and happiness, just as Jean had wanted.


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She wanted it to be a celebration of her life. It was her way.

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Read Jean and Don's Story. Giving people with dementia the right to consent to assisted dying in advance while they are still of sound mind allows them to exist with increased dignity because they will be able to control how their life plays out in the end. Read "Life on the locked unit". September 20, There are a number of reasons for the opposition to physician assisted suicide or voluntary active euthanasia. The value bestowed on human life in all religious traditions and almost all cultures, such as the prohibition on murder is so pervasive that it is an element of common, and not statutory, law.

I want to die with dignity – and I will fight for the right at the high court

The main victims of such possible abuse could well be the most vulnerable and indigent members of society: the poor, the disabled and the like. Those who cannot pay for prolonged accommodation in expensive health care facilities and intensive care units. In support of physician assisted suicide or voluntary active euthanasia, the argument is often made that, as people have the right to live with dignity, they also have the right to die with dignity.

Some medical conditions are simply so painful and unnecessarily prolonged that the capability of the medical profession to alleviate suffering by means of palliative care is surpassed.


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  6. Intractable terminal suffering robs the victims of most of their dignity. In addition, medical science and practice is currently capable of an unprecedented prolongation of human life. It can be a prolongation that too often results in a concomitant prolongation of unnecessary and pointless suffering. Enormous pressure is placed upon both families and the health care system to spend time and very costly resources on patients that have little or no chance of recovery and are irrevocably destined to die. It is, so the argument goes, not inhumane or irreverent to assist such patients — particularly if they clearly and repeatedly so request — to bring their lives to an end.

    Death with Dignity

    I am personally much more in favour of the pro-PAS and pro-VAE positions, although the arguments against do raise issues that need to be addressed. Most of those issues for example the danger of the exploitation of vulnerable patients I believe, can be satisfactorily dealt with by regulation.

    The most compelling argument in favour of physician assisted suicide or voluntary active euthanasia is the argument in support of committing suicide in a democracy. The right to commit suicide is, as far as I am concerned, simply one of the prices we have to be willing to pay as citizens of a democracy. We do not have the right, and we play no discernible role, in coming into existence. But we do have the right to decide how long we remain in existence.

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    Dying Right | The Death with Dignity Movement | Taylor & Francis Group

    The fact that we have the right to suicide, does not mean that it is always morally right to execute that right. It is hard to deny the right of an year-old with terminal cancer of the pancreas and almost no family and friends left, to commit suicide or ask for assisted death. In this case, he or she both has the right, and will be in the right if exercising that right. Compare that with the situation of a year-old man, a husband and father of three young children, who has embezzled company funds and now has to face the music in court.

    Life, Death and Dignity: Learning how to die

    He, also, has the right to commit suicide. But, I would argue, it would not be morally right for him to do so, given the dire consequences for his family. To have a right, does not imply that it is always right to execute that right. My argument in favour of physician assisted suicide or voluntary active euthanasia is thus grounded in the right to suicide, which I think is fundamental to a democracy. Take the case of a competent person who is terminally ill, who will die within the next six months and has no prospect of relief or cure.