Write 9 page essay on the topic Lord Joffe’s Bill: Moral and Legal Justifications for Change in Law in Relation to the Right to Die.
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These organizations believe that a person is fully authorised to make decisions about the sustainment of his life in this world and nobody has any right to prevent him from doing so. In their opinion, right to live and right die are fundamental rights which are equally important. Public opinion about the right to die has been changed a lot in recent past. Today, even some of the religious groups are favouring right to die on certain occasions. This is because of the increasing cases of people falling in no hope conditions. It should be noted that plenty of people all over the world are currently sustaining their life with the help of medical equipment and the hope for survival is almost nil for them. Under such circumstances, the debate over the right to die is getting intensified in recent times. Australia is the first country which legalized the right to die. Countries like Netherlands and Canada also did the same thing later. In some states of America, right to die is made legal. However, UK is one country in which the right to die has not been approved legally yet. Lord Joffe proposed a bill in the House of Lords in 2006, to make physician-assisted suicide (PAS) legal in the case of people who are terminally ill. This bill was a modified version of a previous Bill proposed by Lord Mackay in 2005. “Friday 12May 2006 witnessed the second reading in the House of Lords of Lord Joffe’s Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill”2. However, this bill was failed in the House of Lords because of its inability to gather majority. The bill was defeated by a margin of 148 to 1003. This paper analyses the moral and legal justifications of Lord Joffe’s bill. Moral justifications of Lord Joffe’s bill According to Keown (2007), “If the principled arguments which underpinned the Bill are accepted, the case is made not simply for PAS, but for active euthanasia, voluntary and non-voluntary”4. Physician assisted suicide and euthanasia are entirely different things. Physician assisted suicide (PAS) or mercy killing is more acceptable to the public than euthanasia. PAS is nothing but helping a person in terminating his life whereas “Euthanasia is the intentional termination of life by somebody other than the person concerned at his or her request”5. In short, euthanasia is nothing but another form of killing even if it is performed with the consent of the victim. Moral laws cannot justify killing of a human being under any circumstances. Even after huge developments in science and technology, nobody knows the secrets behind life and death. Even though medical science advanced a lot, no healthcare professional was able to produce an artificial life in a laboratory condition. In other words, only the creator knows the secrets behind life. Once it is taken, nobody can return a life. Under these circumstances, the authority or the right of a person to take the life of another person may not be acceptable to anyone. It is better to leave the destiny of the person in trouble to the creator rather than attempting to help him by killing him. According to the Jewish perspectives on euthanasia. “There is a time to be born and a time to die”’ (Ecclesiastes 3:2a)6. In other words, PAS and euthanasia are immoral according to the beliefs of Jews. Now, the question is whether the death of a person is personal or not.
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