Why Would Anyone Oppose This 104-Year-Old Man’s Decision to Die with Dignity?

David Goodall ended his life yesterday. He flew to Switzerland, held a press conference about his decision (while wearing a shirt saying “ageing disgracefully”), allowed an IV into his arm, and let the fluids take over.

The 104-year-old scientist died on his own terms when life had become “increasingly difficult to live.” At his request, an “Ode to Joy” played in the background. By the time it hit the last notes, Goodall was no longer alive.

Goodall didn’t want to travel to Switzerland for the procedure, but it was the only option for him since his home nation of Australia forbids assisted suicide in all instances. He made sure everyone knew about his frustrations.

“I greatly regret having reached that age; I would much prefer to be 20 or 30 years younger,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. during the [104th birthday] festivities in April. When asked whether he had a nice birthday, he replied: “No, I’m not happy. I want to die. … It’s not sad, particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented.”

“My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights, including the right of assisted suicide,” the 104-year-old man added.

We recently posted about a Canadian couple that ended life together. What we said there applies here, too. It would be cruel to force people to live against their will. That’s not “pro-life”; that’s pro-agony. When your body is in constant pain and there is no hope for getting better, the government ought to let you die on your own terms.

There’s no moral ambiguity with Goodall. He’s at the end of his life; it was only a matter of when he’d go. He had a chance to say goodbye to his family. He “requested that his body be donated to medicine and, if not, that his ashes be sprinkled locally.” He made peace with the world since he didn’t believe in an afterlife. And he died in the manner of his choosing.

If only we could all wrap things up like that when it’s our time.

It’s mind-boggling how some religious people could observe Goodall’s careful thought process throughout all this, yet demand he be kept alive against his will in order to avoid circumventing God’s Master Plan. Or because they think they know what’s best for Goodall.

There’s absolutely no reason to oppose physician-assisted suicide. Wherever the procedure exists, there are rules in place to prevent anyone from taking advantage of it. Anything less is prolonged torture.

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