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Assisted Dying

  • The right to choose death when life no longer holds meaning is not only the next liberation but the last human right.

  • ... the incredible new medical technology has made it possible for highly disciplined teams of surgeons ... to keep stricken organisms alive even if the brain is irretrievably damaged or lung and heart incapable of functioning without mechanical help. Now it is not dust to dust, but human to vegetable.

  • Euthanasia ... is simply to be able to die with dignity at a moment when life is devoid of it.

  • I wonder how often not the intention but the desire springs up in a doctor's mind: 'Can I let this human being out of the trap of Life?'

  • The time is approaching when we shall consider it abhorrent to our civilization to allow a human being to die in prolonged agony which we should mercifully end in any other creature.

  • [From her suicide note:] Human life consists in mutual service. No grief, pain, misfortune, or 'broken heart' is excuse for cutting off one's life while any power of service remains. But when all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one.

  • End me or mend me: heavy is my burden!

    • Nora Chesson,
    • "The Gate-Keeper," Selected Poems, vols. 1-5 ()
  • There are those of us who believe that under certain conditions the cruelest thing you can do to people you love is to force them to live. There are those of us who define living not by whether the heart beats and the lungs lift but whether the spirit is there, whether the music box plays.

  • No one should be allowed to give back the gift of life, unless they are very old and full of tears, when the body outlives the spirit, when they should be allowed to join the others who've already gone.

  • I don't think suicide is so terrible, in fact, I find it quite vital. Everybody should choose life every day. Some rainy winter Sundays when there's a little boredom, you should always carry a gun. Not to shoot yourself, but to know exactly that you're always making a choice.

  • End-of-life decision-making should be a civil right. There is no rational, secular underpinning for laws denying this right. They are based solely on doctrinal beliefs that suffering has spiritual merit and that only some imagined god can determine when one's life is to end. Our bodies belong to us, not to the church and not to the state.

  • ... nothing is so horrifying as the possibility of existing simply because we do not know how to die.

  • Death is sometimes not the worst situation you can be in.

    • Nancy Cruzan,
    • to her sister, in Alida Brill, Nobody's Business: Paradoxes of Privacy ()
  • Killing means active euthanasia. Allowing someone to die means withholding treatment so as not to prolong dying. This is the difference between blowing out the candle and allowing it to flicker out on its own. Either way the room is equally dark, but not as chilly.

  • ... how often I longed to lovingly administer release! ... to have the courage and the right, after the soul is fled, to stop the poor wretched machine, that exists only to suffer and cause suffering.

  • I got inklings that my life's 'best if used by' date was becoming gradually decipherable ... I wanted to avoid suffering, loss of control over my body and life circumstances or allowing some outside 'expert' or a panel of them to dictate the terms of my experience of the all-important last stage of my life.

    • Annie Chase,
    • My Purpose Driven Death: How I Became One Lucky Stiff
    • ()
  • The choice isn't whether to die. No one is exempt from that One-Death-Per-Birth rule. I am that lucky stiff who got to choose some of the specific features of the experience.

    • Annie Chase,
    • My Purpose Driven Death: How I Became One Lucky Stiff
    • ()
  • The tortures to which people subjected the dying in an attempt to fulfill their duties to life!

  • ... I don't see why people consider suicide cowardice. I think it has a certain dignity — like leaving before you're fired.

  • Why should anyone — the state, the medical profession, or anyone else — presume to tell someone else how much suffering they must endure as their life is ending?