Do Libertarians Support Death With Dignity?

Do Libertarians Support Death With Dignity?

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Disclaimer: This article explores philosophical subject matter that may be sensitive to some audiences. Discretion is advised. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, we urge and encourage you to seek counseling and get help. Dial 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

At the core of the philosophy of libertarianism is the belief that every individual has bodily autonomy and authority over their own life. As such, libertarians support death with dignity, which gives power and control to terminally ill patients concerning how they will die.

Founded in 1994, the non-profit, non-partisan organization Death with Dignity National Center has led the legal battle to protect a terminally ill person's autonomy and rights to control their own death.

Victorious in their effort, the organization won Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, the first law protecting medically assisted, voluntary life termination. They seek to expand legal protection to all states.

According to the Oregon State government, "On October 27, 1997, Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally ill individuals to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose."

While some politicians oppose death with dignity on moral grounds, libertarians believe that the government should have no authority to prohibit terminally ill people from accessing healthcare that enables voluntary self-termination.

It is a terminally ill person's choice to decide how and when they will die. Comfort and proper healthcare should be available to them.


Do Libertarians Support Self-Termination for Those Who Are Not Terminally Ill?

Death is a sensitive topic, and we encourage anyone who is experiencing inclinations to commit suicide to seek help and reconsider. Life is worth living.

The principled libertarian, however, is bound by their convictions to liberty and must answer the question earnestly. Should you have a right to kill yourself?

Philosophically speaking, yes. The self-ownership and bodily autonomy tenets of libertarianism dictate that a person may, for whatever reason they deem acceptable, terminate their own life.

Lockean philosophy which helped shape the U.S. Constitution and fortify liberal and libertarian ideology says that a person has sole authority and possession over their own life and body. Therefore, even if they are not terminally ill, a person has the natural right to kill themselves.

The government enacting laws against suicide and attempted suicide are transgressions unto the autonomy and fundamental liberty of a human being and are an abundant misuse of state power.

While libertarianism rejects the government's power to implement laws and governance prohibiting self-termination, it's fair to mention that some libertarians morally oppose suicide, especially for non-terminally ill individuals.
For more information on the philosophy, please see 'What is Libertarianism?'

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