Originally Posted by Axil
I believe the argument goes something like this:
Only people who are mentally competent should be allowed to make the decision to end their life.
Anyone who wants to end their life is mentally incompetent.
Therefore, no one is eligible to make the decision to end their life.
I don't buy that argument wholesale, but I do suspect there is some subset of people who would like to kill themselves, that in their current mental state cannot fully understand the ramifications of that decision. Those people should probably be prohibited from doing so. I could also be persuaded that those wishing to die should have to administer the injection themselves. At least in cases where it's possible for them to do so.
The typical situation is one in which an individual is in persistent, high level pain due to a condition that is either terminal or chronic, without known methods to cure or correct the condition. One alternative would be to drug the individual into near catatonia. Another would be for that person to determine that their quality of life is so extremely poor and their suffering so great that they prefer the peace of death. If the threshold for the right to die is high enough to eliminate all but such extreme cases, I find it hard to say that an individual does not possess the right and liberty to exercise this most personal decision. The question is the role of the state, medical providers, etc. in assisting that decision, as opposed to allowing access to the means to accomplish it, as you noted.