Health Care is a Human Right

Aid in dying must become a fundamental human right. We need legal change, so that terminally ill people, suffering intolerably at end of life, have the right to choose a peaceful, dignified, humane and pain-free death.

But aid in dying is just one part of having a good death, of minimizing suffering and maximizing quality of life at its end. Aid in dying must become part of a broader human right, a right to compassionate care at end of life. Every dying person must be able to access the full spectrum of appropriate medical and palliative care.

In particular, no one should ever feel pressured to end their life because they cannot obtain the medical and palliative care they need. The appropriate ethical criterion for someone choosing to end their life, should be intolerable and irremediable suffering, even with the best palliative care — NOT an inability to obtain care.

There are many ways to ensure that every member of our society has access to health care.  We take no position on the structure of health care delivery and payment systems, but insist that under any appropriate system, everybody should be able to get basic medical care, and all ill people should have access to the full scope of appropriate medical care including palliative care regardless of their financial state.