The debate on euthanasia has been controversial in many countries for many years. The brunt of the argument has rested on whether or not it should be legalized and, if so, who would make that law? Also, there is always the question of what state the victim should be in to choose euthanasia.
The debate has been renewed in Canada since the spring of 2013. In an editorial from The Toronto Star (June 15, 2013), one written section is, “Even so, Premier Pauline Marois’s government is flouting the Canadian Criminal Code’s intent by bringing forward so-called ‘medical aid in dying’ legislation to allow physicians to administer lethal medication at a patient’s request.” Marois is Quebec’s premier. In another section is written, “The Canadian Medical Association, too, opposes both euthanasia (where a doctor administers a lethal dose of drugs) and assisted suicide (where a doctor prescribes a lethal dose for the patient to take) on ethical grounds.”
Coincidentally, my most recent published novel, The Monarchs, does involve this issue. Robert, one of the main characters, is suffering intense pain on a daily basis due to prostate cancer.
At one point in the novel, Robert hints to his family doctor that he would welcome any kind of advice or help on ending his life. Robert’s quality of life does have its peaks at times; however, too often, it is reduced to a painful, undignified state.
In Robert’s case, he also has to contend with his wife’s mostly oppositional views against his decisions. She loves him unconditionally and this brings another side to the issue: should we take care of our own needs first or hang on to satisfy the needs of those who love us? In other words, do we really want to make others miserable and destroy lives as a result of destroying our own?