Choosing Death by Peter Singer, essay topic response
February 14, 2022•878 words
The essay “Choosing death” by the Philosopher Peter Singer, explores the idea of the legalisation of euthanasia. He argued that choosing to end your life with the help of a doctor should be legal. He immediately starts his essay with a quote from Gillian Bennett, “I WILL TAKE MY LIFE TODAY AROUND NOON.IT IS TIME.”, and then further goes explains Gillian Bennett’s situation. The quote engages the reader to read the rest of the essay as they want to know why someone would want to take their own life, since the words being said are not to be taken lightly.
By Singer using a case study of someone who wants to end their life it establishes a strong emotion with the reader as it shows realism, it makes the reader sympathize with the situation and most importantly it makes the reader think about people’s perspective of euthanization. For example, “ Bennett’s developing dementia deprived her of all the reasons for wanting to continue to live.” This sentence makes the reader think about this person’s perspective and it puts them in their shoes, it makes the reader question, would I feel the same if it were me with dementia ? Singer also makes the reader feel included in the essay. He does this by using phrases such as, “For most of us” and “We want”. These phrases make the reader feel as if Singer is talking directly to them and so it engages them to read further because they can relate to what he is writing. Furthermore, related to what I stated before, the writer describes what life means to us, and how it was different for Bennett. He tells us that life is precious as we have things to look forward to and things we want to achieve but in contrast Bennet does not have this and so do multiple dementia as their state of mind does not think like this.
As the article was written in 2014 the laws of euthanasia have changed. Now in 7 countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands and Colombia) euthanasia has become legal. In Belgium euthanasia is even permitted for patients under the age of 18. Many other countries such as Spain and Canada have permitted medical aid in dying, physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia for patients whose natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.” Even though Canada has made these new laws in 2019 a national survey was done by Dying with Dignity Canada, it showed that eight in ten people believe that the law is too restrictive. In the essay Singer said that many patients fear or worry about the effect it might have on doctor who helps assist the death as they might get prosecuted for assisted suicide, and in the Netherlands this worry is no longer exist. This is because in the Netherlands doctor’s can not be prosecuted for this reason which relieves the stress of the patients. Peter Singer has written multiple article’s about euthanasia since 2014 and the latest being written in April 2021. In this Article he talks about the legalisation of euthanasia in different countries but mainly about Canada. He also says, “The only remaining question might be the reliability of psychiatric assessments of whether a patient’s mental illness is incurable and will continue. But in the end, only the patient can judge how unbearable the suffering is, and therefore, how much weight should be given to the possibility that it will end, either with further treatment or on its own.” Peter Singer still wishes that the laws about euthanization will develop and improve more over the next few years.
Finally, I think that euthanasia should be legal everywhere and accessible to anyone. I think that it should be up to the patient themselves whether or not they would live to end their lives as it is them going through the mental or physical problems. And as Peter Singer said in his latest article how reliable are the psychiatric assessments on whether a patient’s mental illness is bearable or incurable. Pain is subjective and everybody has a different tolerance. On the other hand, I do not agree with the law in the Netherlands on which people below the age of 18 should be able to end their lives. The human brain does not reach full maturity until the age 25 and so intrusive thoughts might be temporary and the child does not know how to fully live life yet as they have not lived long enough. Therefore to conclude, I agree with Peter Singer's opinion on euthanasia and I think that physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia should be permitted everywhere but it should not be up to therapists to decide these decisions.
Albinson. “These People Want to Die. Will Their Countries Allow Euthanasia?” NBC News, NBC News, 21 Oct. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/people-want-die-will-countries-allow-euthanasia-rcna3307.
“New Poll: Majority of Canadians Support Expanding Access to Medical Assistance in Dying.” Dying with Dignity Canada, 2020, www.dyingwithdignity.ca/irpoll_results_2020.
“NPR Cookie Consent and Choices.” Npr.org, 2022, choice.npr.org/index.html?origin=www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1
Singer, Peter. Ethics in the Real World : 86 Brief Essays on Things That Matter. The Text Publishing Company, 2016.
Singer, Peter. “Extending the Right to Die | by Peter Singer - Project Syndicate.” Project Syndicate, 6 Apr. 2021, www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/extending-the-right-to-assisted-suicide-voluntary-euthanasia-by-peter-singer-2021-04.