Euthanasia is a topic which needs to be discussed in New Zealand much more.
What does this have to do with a holistic health blog, you ask? Well, everything.
First of all, let’s just turn this on it’s own head and talk about what is and isn’t socially acceptable around the control of our own mortality. There is a cruel irony that those who oppose euthanasia are pro life span altering pharmaceuticals but seemingly only if it prolongs longevity. What is with the strong value we place on longevity and how is that different to controlling life span but by shortening it? Why is lengthening ok but shortening is not? It is true that modern day humans are leading longer, sicker lives thanks to our right of choice to use drugs to prolong lives. We often see diabetics on medication for insulin resistance and hypertension who end up in old age with Alzheimer’s Disease (now sometimes dubbed diabetes type 3). These people, for instance, chose to prolong their lives by using medication to control hypertension and diabetes damage. Imagine if we said that those people who are on pharmaceuticals to prolong their lives in this way, or choose to get a heart pacer etc. weren’t allowed this option because ethically we are playing God, sure we have the technology but you can’t use it to control your lifespan. That you have to face your mortality head on but don’t worry because we’ve got morphine and tramadol to help you with that. Also, imagine if you were in the agonising position of watching your family suffer and you “took their fate into your own hands” by agreeing to help them out of their pain, and live longer. This could look like agreeing to a transplant of an organ as an example. But, because ethically you played a role in controlling their lifespan, you became a criminal of compassion for helping your family member out.
We are smarter than we have ever been in this day in age. We have so many incredible ways of enabling longevity through medicine, those who choose to use medications to live longer should support those who have valid reasons to shorten their lifespans – and don’t even get me started on compassion and empathy for those who live with such chronic pain, for example, that they are not even human anymore, they are just pain. By this arguement, anyone who makes the decision to disallow euthanasia should be pro naturopathy, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine etc because they are against using pharmaceuticals to our advantage. Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate for natural medicine as a holistic health sciences student myself. But it grates me that some heartless fools get to decide in what capacity it is ok to control a humans lifespan and I want to know why they can play God themselves by saying yes, use our medical technology to prolong your life even if that makes you have a longer, sicker life as a result but no, you are not allowed to shorten your life . Stay miserable, in pain and suffer.