The debate whether people should be given a right to die has been going on for some years now. Professor Stephen Hawkin, who at one point in his life believed that assisted dying was wrong, has changed his thinking to promote the wishes of the terminally sick individuals who are in severe pain to put an end to their lives. Hawking is now 71 years old. He had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s illness when he was only 21 years old and informed he could only survive for the next three years (Taylor, 2006).
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Although people should have the right to die, there are special circumstances that must be spelt out before anyone is allowed to end his life. The case of Hawking is encouraging. He stated in 2006 that in as much as individuals should be given the right to die, it could also be a very big mistake (Taylor, 2006). Although life can be imberable, there is something that a person can focus on and excel in it. There is a sense of optimism whenever there is life. In what seems to be a contradiction to his assertion above, Hawkin, now a cosmologist and theoretical physicist, supports that those people who feel they can no longer bear the suffering in their lives should be accorded the right to die. It is sensible to state that people with a terminal illness and in excruciating pain must be allowed to decide whether they should live or not. The people that assist such individuals in ending their lives should not be prosecuted as well. If we cannot allow animals to suffer, why should human beings be forced to suffer for long when the suffering can be stopped? (Helton, 2001).
In giving people the right to die, there must be proper safeguards in place to make sure that people’s lives are not ended against their will. For instance, when Hawking became terribly ill with pneumonia in 1985, he was put on a life supporting gadget. Jane Hawking, his wife, was given a choice to put the gadget off or leave it on (Helton, 2001). This implies that proper safeguards need to be in place so that the people truly wishing to die are not being forced to do it or have the procedure done without their knowledge. This would have been the case with Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking is a good example of a person who has defeated a weak body to attain scientific as well as literary achievement. A paltry 5% of people suffering from the Lou Gehrig’s illness live for a decade. Dr. Hawking is unable to move and communicates to people using his computer. However, he is celebrated for writing a book titled A Brief History of Time. This book have been sold remarkably. The people opposing the subject of assisted dying have referred to Hawking as a perfect case in point of why certain legislations need to be rewritten (Helton, 2001).
The moving thoughts of Professor Stephen Hawking strengthen the view that instituting powerful safeguards in an assisted dying legislation is pertinent. No good reason exists to go against a legislation, which offers terminally ill individuals the opportunity to decide on the manner and time of their death. Clearly, it is a good idea that the terminally ill people with sufficient reasons to die be allowed to determine their fate.
Helton, N. (2001).What Is Wrong with Rational Suicide? London: Prentice Hall.
Taylor, P. (2006). Euthanasia and Suicide. New York: Sage Publications.