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A right to suicide does not entail a right to assisted death.
  1. M Gunderson
  1. Macalester College, St Paul, Minnesota, USA.

    Abstract

    Many people believe that it is permissible for people who are suffering from terminal illnesses to commit suicide or even that such people have a right to commit suicide. Some have also argued that it follows that it is permissible for them, or that they have a right, to use the assistance of another person. First, I assume that it is permissible for a person to commit suicide and ask whether it follows that it is also permissible for the person to employ an agent to assist in the death. Second, I assume that people have a right to commit suicide and ask whether it follows that the right holders have a right to employ an agent to assist with the death. I argue that the permissibility of suicide does not by itself entail the permissibility of employing someone to assist in the suicide. I also argue that the right to commit suicide does not by itself entail the right to assisted death. Instead, what follows is that there is a right not to have unreasonable restrictions placed on the means by which one can exercise one's right to commit suicide. Whether a restriction is reasonable depends on the conclusion reached when one has weighed a number of policy considerations.

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