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Argument: Individuals have a right to die when life becomes excruciating or undignified

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Quotations of terminally ill, pained individuals that want euthanasia

Chantal Sebire, a 52- year-old Dijon schoolteacher, suffering from a rare disease that has left her disfigured by facial tumors, said in 2008 to Time magazine: "I no longer accept this enduring pain, and this protruding eye that nothing can be done about. I want to go out celebrating, surrounded by my children, friends, and doctors before I'm put to sleep definitively at dawn."[1]

From the Time article, "Making a Case for Euthanasia". Mar. 15, 2008, "Sebire and her backers retort that preventing her from getting medical assistance to end her life swiftly and painlessly ensures months or years of additional torment from pain. Her death will come, they say, after a long coma that will reduce her to being nothing but an inanimate burden on her family."

Supporting quotations

American Civil Liberties Union. Amicus Brief, Vacco v. Quill. 1996 - "The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. The exercise of this right is as central to personal autonomy and bodily integrity as rights safeguarded by this Court's decisions relating to marriage, family relationships, procreation, contraception, child rearing and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment. In particular, this Court's recent decisions concerning the right to refuse medical treatment and the right to abortion instruct that a mentally competent, terminally ill person has a protected liberty interest in choosing to end intolerable suffering by bringing about his or her own death.

A state's categorical ban on physician assistance to suicide -- as applied to competent, terminally ill patients who wish to avoid unendurable pain and hasten inevitable death -- substantially interferes with this protected liberty interest and cannot be sustained."[2]

Faye Girsh, Ed.D. Senior Adviser, Final Exit Network. "How Shall We Die," Free Inquiry." Winter 2001 - "At the Hemlock Society we get calls daily from desperate people who are looking for someone like Jack Kevorkian to end their lives which have lost all quality... Americans should enjoy a right guaranteed in the European Declaration of Human Rights -- the right not to be forced to suffer. It should be considered as much of a crime to make someone live who with justification does not wish to continue as it is to take life without consent."[3]

Compassion in Dying v. Washington. United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. March 6, 1996 - "While some people refer to the liberty interest implicated in right-to-die cases as a liberty interest in committing suicide, we do not describe it that way. We use the broader and more accurate terms, 'the right to die,' 'determining the time and manner of one's death,' and 'hastening one's death' for an important reason. The liberty interest we examine encompasses a whole range of acts that are generally not considered to constitute 'suicide.' Included within the liberty interest we examine, is for example, the act of refusing or terminating unwanted medical treatment...

Casey and Cruzan provide persuasive evidence that the Constitution encompasses a due process liberty interest in controlling the time and manner of one's death -- that there is, in short, a constitutionally recognized 'right to die.'"[4]

Dan Brock, Ph.D. Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics and Director of the Division of Medical Ethics, Harvard Medical School. "Voluntary Active Euthanasia," Hastings Center Report. 1992 - "Life itself is commonly taken to be a central good for persons, often valued for its own sake, as well as necessary for pursuit of all other goods within a life. But when a competent patient decides to forgo all further life-sustaining treatment then the patient, either explicitly or implicitly, commonly decides that the best life possible for him or her with treatment is of sufficiently poor quality that it is worse than no further life at all. Life is no longer considered a benefit by the patient, but has now become a burden. The same judgement underlies a request for euthanasia: continued life is seen by the patient as no longer a benefit, but now a burden. Especially in the often severely compromised and debilitated states of many critically ill or dying patients, there is no objective standard, but only the competent patient's judgment of whether continued life is no longer a benefit."[5]

Supporting videos

"Piero Welby to the Italian President: I want euthanasia". Posted on YouTube December 20th, 2006[6]

"French Woman's Death Revives Euthanasia Debate". Posted on YouTube March 20th, 2008.[7]

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