18. Choosing death Argument Essay
February 14, 2022•751 words
Peter singer's choosing death essay talks about 85-year-old Gillian Bennett in his essay as an example to express his ideas and thoughts on euthanasia. He talks about how life is stimulating for the ordinary person and we look forwards to the next steps in life which Bennett would have as well if the circumstances were different.
Gillian Bennett developed dementia which, deprives her of all the reasons she wished to continue her life. Singer thinks that this makes it hard to deny her wish to die as the decision is "rational and ethical". I agree with Singer in this argument as to when a person who was previously looking forward to what makes life worthwhile loses the ability to live for the reason humans find life stimulating they should be given the option to be euthanized.
Furthermore, Bennett states that “All I lose is an indefinite number of years of being a vegetable in a hospital setting, eating up the country’s money but having not the faintest idea of who I am.” Singer believes this is also an ethical reason as her reasoning was not only about herself but also for the wider community. I agree with this argument to a certain extent but do believe that feeling a burden on someone can be in many situations and some can be changed, but in the case of this argument thinking of the nurses and the money taken to keep patients with dementia alive who live to only slowly forget everything they love and even themselves is a very valid reason to wish to be euthanized before one forgets everything. I believe some may think that this may be selfish towards others in a dementia patient alive but ultimately the choice should always be of the person suffering as no one should suffer to stay alive from something that can not be changed when they wish not to be for the sake of others.
I particularly like that Singer uses personal experiences from his own life from real dementia patience "But, having seen this condition overtake my mother and my aunt—both vibrant, intelligent women, who were reduced to lying, unresponsive, in a bed for months or (in my aunt’s case) years—it seems to me entirely accurate. Beyond a certain stage of dementia, the person we knew is gone." I think this strengthened his argument, but would be better if he mentioned other experiences and maybe statistics of a wider range of dementia patients and their thoughts.
The conversation around euthanasia since this essay was written, which is in 2014, has changed in terms of more countries legalizing it. Physician-Assisted Suicide Ruled Legal by New Mexico Judge Belgium Legalized Euthanasia for Terminally and Incurably Ill Children (ProCon.org). Since then euthanasia has been legalized in Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands and Colombia (Albinson). The conversation still has many negative connotations surrounding it especially in terms of religion for example in Islam suicide is a sin and many believe any form to be a sin but there are conversations that say when one is only alive with the help of mechanical equipment that the person should be allowed to put their life to an end (“BBC - Religions - Islam: Euthanasia, Assisted Dying, Medical Ethics and Suicide”).
My personal opinion on euthanasia is not very concrete as I think that the conversation around it is very particular and can't be applied to every situation. I do believe that making euthanasia legal will help people who still take their lives in other ways which are harmful in many ways. The topic should not have so much shame surrounding it as this puts the ones who want to be euthanized in an uncomfortable position as they are constantly being shamed for being selfish, dramatic or sinful. Opening the conversation to help and comfort anyone who wishes to take their life in a legal way will help take away the stigma around euthanasia and positively affect many people. Stigmatizing topics like these only hurt people as people feel shameful to even converse about it and find solutions. Overall I do believe legalizing euthanasia will have a positive impact on many people and be safer for many as people only will be euthanized if they are tested mentally and physically so their reasonings aren't unreasonable. My standing on the specific act of it fluctuates as every situation is different and I can not have a concrete opinion on something that can vary from person to person.