Against “the Right to Die” in less than 100 words

Saw this on Leiter Reports, and thought it was worth reproducing here. From the Economist:

SIR – Another argument against assisted suicide is that there are times when giving someone a choice actually harms them. This happens in a case where an unchosen default is preferable to having a choice. Some ethicists, such as David Velleman at New York University, argue that giving the very ill the choice to commit suicide easily and legally harms all ill people by taking from them the option of continuing to live by default.

We expect human beings to provide reasons for their choices. So by requiring ill people to choose to live rather than just living by default such policies require them to justify their continued existence in a way that healthy people are not required to do.

You can read Prof. Velleman’s paper here.

Also, for those interested in this subject (as I am), Frontline has some (sypathetic) pieces on the subject, an older one called The Suicide Tourist and a new one called The Suicide Plan.