The highly contested nature of euthanasia is apparent from the wide range of differing arguments that surround this controversial topic. For me, humans have fundamental rights to free will and to live as they choose within society, so surely people should also be able to choose how to end their life? Why should those that are suffering not have the option available to die peacefully and without the fear of agony suicide offers? In a couple of years, I will be of legal age to get tattoos, piercings, and plastic surgery. How is it that I will not be able to choose how to end my time?

The argument for legalisation is cemented by the countless heart-breaking stories of children and adults, who could have had a better quality of life if only they had been given the right to die. Danny Bond was born 12 weeks prematurely in Southampton and suffered a lifelong battle with illness. After 2 failed suicide attempts, he was sadly faced with no choice but to starve himself to death at the age of only 21. Had euthanasia been a viable option, whilst his life would have been shorter and of better quality.

‘Dignitas’ in Switzerland have helped 840 people to end their lives as of 2008 and by 2010 that number had far exceeded a thousand. These figures demonstrate clear demand for the service it provides. The process is painless and Dignitas provide a bed and room so loved ones can be present and say goodbye. After a survey in America, it was concluded that 46% of physicians were prepared to assist in the suicide of terminally ill patients with 14% saying they would do it in certain circumstances.

It is not only physicians that support euthanasia. According to a 2007 British Social Attitude Survey, 80% of the public share this opinion and 45% stated that euthanasia should also be an option for those who are depressed or suicidal. At first glance this seems to me to be logical, why shouldn’t everyone have the right to choose how to die? Current methods of suicide are painful and difficult to carry out- an incredible 92%-95% of suicide attempts resulting in failure. Surely, we should provide those who are struggling with a way out.

Since the 1961 Suicide Act, it has been illegal to assist, aid or counsel someone in relation to taking their life and the consequence of it is a minimum 14 years imprisonment. The main fear is that, if legalised, euthanasia may be abused. How can we be fully sure that a patient truly wants to end their life and not that they are being coerced against their will? Furthermore, people may be encouraged to commit suicide, and others particularly the elderly and disabled may feel a burden to their family and ultimately feel pressured into it. It is estimated that 16.2 million adults in the USA (6.7%) have at least one depressive episode a year. Of course, most people do not act on this, but problems may arise if a pain and failure free method of suicide becomes available as they may take their lives, rather than seek help. Another big issue is how to legislate on the circumstances under which a person gets to choose to die, including appropriate safeguards. In September 2014, a convicted rapist and murderer requested to be euthanised as he found prison to be ‘unbearable suffering.’ Frank Van Den Bleeken had raped and strangled a 19-year-old girl and now, under Belgium’s very liberal euthanasia laws, was demanding his right to be euthanised. Following the approval of his request, a further 15 inmates requested and were permitted euthanasia. Surely prisoners should be forced to serve their prison sentence to atone for their crimes? If legalised world-wide, thought would need to be given to the regulation of euthanasia for such prisoners.

Overall, I believe that Euthanasia should be legalised, especially for those who are terminally ill or suffering from a severely debilitating condition. However, I remain uncertain over the dilemma of whether or not outside of these conditions it should become generally available. I would be concerned that suicide rates may increase, laws may be abused and society may not focus on helping to people to understand the value of their life. That said, if I get to choose what I eat for lunch then surely I should also get to choose how I end my life?