Re: Euthanasia: A Poll & Discussion
I think that there are likely peripheral issues involved, most of them involved with attempted rather than successful suicide. For example, in cases of attempted suicide, the legal status of suicide is probably somehow instrumental in determining things like criminal negligence -- eg. when a parent attempts suicide, thereby threatening to abandon the child. More importantly, it allows prosecutors to try people in connection with suicides. That's fairly questionable in the case of simple assisted suicide, but I think we can all feel fairly certain that it's worthwhile when the assistant has been instrumental in the decision. In those cases, there may easily be some question as to whether or not the person would have resorted to suicide on their own, and we may be hard pressed to find any way to prosecute a person who has merely convinced
another person to commit suicide, even though the act may be tantemount to murder.
And suicide laws may allow government institutions to hold failed attemptees, at least long enough to allow authorities to assess the mental stability of suicides. Which goes to the question of whether or not we have a legal or moral obligation to prevent suicides when it is clear that the person attempting to kill their self is operating on mental impairment.
But stepping away from the question of legality for a moment, what do you think of the ethicality of suicide? Is it ethically neutral? Is it always wrong? If the answer is neither, what are the criteria for determining the ethicality of any given act of suicide?