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Liberty and Death: A manifesto concerning an individual's right to choose to die

By Derek Humphry

Original article: April 08, 2007

In a spirit of compassion for all, this manifesto proclaims that every competent adult has the incontestable right to humankind’s ultimate civil and personal liberty -- the right to die in a manner and at a time of their own choosing.

Whereas modern medicine has brought great benefits to humanity, it cannot entirely solve the pain and distress of the dying process.

Each person deals with death in their individual way. Which way is determined by their health, their ethics, and personal living conditions.

The degree to which physical pain and psychological distress can be tolerated is different in all humans. Quality of life judgments are private and personal, thus only the sufferer can make relevant decisions.

Persuasion or provocation to the act of self-killing are deplorable and should be punished according to relevant laws. ‘Suicide’ no longer being a crime, it is unacceptable to prosecute well-meaning people for ‘assisted suicide’.

Medically hastened death by request should be made lawful as it is now in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the American states of Oregon and Washington (each has different rules).

Choosing to hasten death by self-starvation and dehydration should be accompanied by palliative care. Electing to die by terminal sedation is also a choice provided it is freely made by the patient.

Advance Directives (Living Wills) and Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care must be respectfully considered by medical professionals at all times.

Views on the dying process contrary to those expressed in this manifesto are respected, but must not trump the autonomy of the dying person’s own decisions.

Derek Humphry
ergo@finalexit.org
March 2009