Peter Singer Response

In Peter Singer’s essay, he argues that voluntary euthanasia is ethical and rational since the subject has nothing of possible value in their life anymore because most of the time, they are losing themselves. In addition, he states that these people are not only thinking of themselves since they consider family, caretakers, and even the country in this decision. Therefore, Singer believes that if a patient does not have the will to live in their painful or vegetative state, they should have the option to end their life. I found it very effective when Singer used his own personal experience to argue this case. He mentioned his aunt and mother: “both vibrant, intelligent women, who were reduced to lying, unresponsive, in a bed”. This confirms the helplessness of patients in this stage and gave me a better understanding of their will to end their lives. It was also constructive to compare the reader’s life with the patient’s. Singer mentioned that for us, “life is precious” because we have things to look forward to while the patients have nothing of reasonable value. This again puts things into perspective.

The debate around euthanasia has evolved from Singer’s original argument written in 2014. For one, many more countries have legalised voluntary euthanasia on the grounds that the patient’s death is “reasonably foreseeable”. In 2014, only two countries (the Netherlands and Belgium) passed laws legalising euthanasia. In 2021, 7 countries, although under strict conditions, have legalised this. Belgium surprisingly has no age restriction and as long as an individual has a terminal illness, they can be approved. In 2021, in Project Syndicate, Singer wrote that people argue how reliable a physician or psychiatrist consultation for voluntary euthanasia actually is to which he said “​​in the end, only the patient can judge how unbearable the suffering is”. Margaret Somerville, an Australian professor and author contradicts a point made by Singer (the Dutch vote overwhelmingly for euthanasia) by saying “democratic decision-making has no moral status per se” and that just because the public votes for something, it does not mean it is morally right. She uses the Apartheid as an example: “most people deliberately choose evil”. Hospice New Zealand also does not agree with euthanasia. Instead, they suggest that the government should provide sufficient funding for proper palliative care (“relieving pain without dealing with the cause of the situation”). This should be the priority because they believe it will provide a better quality of life and after that there could be a balanced discussion about the legalisation of euthanasia.

In conclusion, I think that euthanasia should be legal for people who are in extreme pain or in a vegetative state since all of the reasons for life are stripped away which leaves no point of living and disrupting others. However, I do believe that before this is legalised, all countries should have proper access to palliative care so that people have the option of relieving pain and achieving a natural death or committing physician assisted suicide.

Works Cited
“Assisted Dying – Our Opinion – Hospice New Zealand.”, 2021, Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

Guardian staff reporter. “Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Laws around the World.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 17 July 2014, Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

"Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Laws around the World.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 17 July 2014, Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

Singer, Peter. “Choosing Death | by Peter Singer - Project Syndicate.” Project Syndicate, 9 Sept. 2014, Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

"Extending the Right to Die | by Peter Singer - Project Syndicate.” Project Syndicate, 6 Apr. 2021, Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

Somerville, Margaret. “Deathbed Disputation: A Response to Peter Singer.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal de l’Association Medicale Canadienne, vol. 167, no. 6, 2002, pp. 651–4, Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

The Week Staff. “The Countries Where Euthanasia Is Legal.” The Week UK, The Week, 28 Aug. 2019, Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

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