In response to P's points:
-If you think the suicide drug will not be made use of, why would you oppose allowing it to be accessible?
Even if nobody takes the offer up, what we are saying in making the offer at all is something that we should not be saying.
If we kill gays, that’s ethically unacceptable. If we treat gays so badly that they kill themselves, that’s no better. If we become aware that a gay man has been driven to choose suicide, the response “fine, that’s your choice; here, have some poison” is unacceptable. A general statement that any gay man driven to choose suicide will be given poison if he asks for it is equally unacceptable. It’s monstrous, in fact.
If we are to accept that a person's body belongs to them and them alone, than by consequence, we should accept their right to stop their body from functioning.
That’s a very reductionist view of suicide. And, I think, an unrealistic one. Reflect on the double-take we do when you describe a suicide as “stopping the body from functioning”. How many suicides would cry “I must stop my body from functioning?” Stopping the body functiong is a by-product of what they are really doing, which is bringing an end to consciousness, to escape physical or existential pain, etc. If you need to characterise suicide so artificially for the purposes of your argument, that makes me mistrust your argument.
If we take a consequentialist view for a moment, the fact that the individual’s body “stops functioning” is not the sole consequence of suicide. Their suicide does
affect others, sometimes very profoundly. In fact, when you think about it, by definition it is others
who have to live with the consequences of this action, not they themselves. Not coincidentally a desire either to punish or to relieve others is often one of the drivers of a suicide decision.
In that light , I see no case for saying that suicide is a purely private decision, in which no-one else has any ethical interest, and which we have an ethical obligation always to respect.
If we think their body belongs to the government, than by all means, support the criminilisation of suicide and have those who do attempt to suicide locked up in mental institutions.
I don’t think anyone’s body “belongs to the government”. I haven’t supported the recriminalisation of suicide. I haven’t suggested that intending suicides should be locked up in mental institutions. None of these are corollaries of rejecting your position, and if you need to set up straw men like this, again it makes me think that your argument may not be all that sound.
The interesting thing is, pereginus you are actually imposing your 'conscience' on others. You feel 'guilty' if someone else suicides so you don't want them to do it because of the effect it has on you. But see, i don't actually think you have that right. There is a saying, 'My freedom ends when it begins to intrude on your freedom'. I think if you're saying to someone, 'i don't care how miserable you are, I don't care how bad you might feel due to depression or whatever, I don't want you to suicide because it makes me as an indivdiual feel bad and we as a society feel bad. So you can't do it'. That doesn't sound like a very rational or respectful argument to me. Nor an argument that respects individual freedom.
I don’t think I am imposing my conscience on others. As I’ve pointed out, suicide is not illegal and people can and do commit suicide without any need for a socially-sanctioned and socially-supplied suicide drug. I have not suggested that any of this be changed.
What you are arguing for is not my freedom to suicide – the evidence that I have this freedom is unassailable – but my freedom to demand the assent and co-operation of others in my suicide. It seems to me that, if your proposal were implemented, those others would have their consciences infringed. They would be required to assent to, and co-operate in, suicides regardless of the motive or justification. I do not think this obligation can be justified.
The one month waiting period is there so they have time to 'change their mind'. If a person says they want to suicide because they can't wear fashionable clothes, I would suspect that 'reason' is covering up deeper reasons which they wish not to discuss, but the difference between you and I is, I don't think it's our business to know those reasons if htat person doesn't wish for us to know them. All I say is, let the individual decide for themself, we will never get inside their head, we will never know what's right for them, so let them make their own decisions.
They can already make their own decisions (including, obviously, their decision not to subject themselves to your nannyish one-month waiting period). What they can’t do is make my
decision for me. I can disagree with their intention to commit suicide, I can reject the sufficiency of the reasons they offer, and I can decline to participate. And I don’t, to be honest, see any case for saying that they should be entitled to deny me the right to make those decisions.