Stephen Hawking says the terminally ill who are in great pain should be allowed to have their lives ended so long as there are precautions in place to ensure that they truly want to die. Per the article:

 

Physicist Stephen Hawking says he thinks terminally ill patients should have access to assisted suicide, as long as there are checks to prevent abuse. "I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives, and those who help them should be free from prosecution," Hawking told the BBC.

 

http://news.discovery.com/human/life/stephen-hawking-endorses-assis...

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One grandmother was a registered nurse, the other the town midwife. They both told me one way the elderly chose death was to stop drinking and eating. They both thought it was a cruel process. They also told me sometimes a doctor would give a lethal dose of morphine, it was quiet, the family usually knew and were present, the dying process was painless and simple and sure.

When doctors were no longer able to administer lethal doses, farming families often found their elderly loved ones with knife or bullet wounds or hanging or a plastic bag over their heads.  These were not always lethal. A dreadful situation for everyone. 

Many farming families who vacationed in Mexico, in more modern times, brought back a cache of pills known to be lethal. 

So, it doesn't really matter what the laws state, people find ways to end their lives, some more humanely than others. Therefore, it just makes sense to me that there be a political decision whereby an individual can acquire a lethal dose for their personal use. No one needs to know, especially the family if that is their wish. Other individuals request their families be present.

One friend of mine with tongue cancer, just a couple of years ago, had a celebration of his life and his family and friends knew the intent of the party. They all said their goodbyes, he took the pills and went to his bed. Some waited until a physician pronounced him dead, others left before. 

What is humane? What makes it possible for loved ones to face a death with equanimity? Can one celebrate a life knowing it is being deliberately terminated? 

In my opinion, each person and family needs to be able to have options and not have the family face criminal charges when death results. 

I live in a death with dignity state, Washington state. 

Washington State Department of Health 2012 Death with Dignity Act R...

A lot of people who oppose assisted suicide do so because they believe only a supposed 'god' has the right to end life. If we hold euthanasia appropriate for our beloved pets why wouldn't it be appropriate for ourselves? The only concern would be to ensure that the patient truly and freely wanted to have his or her life ended.  

It is time we ignore what some people believe about god as the giver and taker of life. There is no god to give or take anything. Nor is there a god who offers answers or preserves life. We just have to get over it. If they want to believe such things, let them have their fantasies. As for me, I am the one who has the right to make decisions about myself. The government or those who believe in delusions have no place in decisions I make about my end of life.

It appears I am surviving this cancer demon and each precious moment presents a treasure of time to enjoy and appreciate the gift of life. I will not squander it, nor will I hasten death. I live; I intend to use it all up with joy and gratitude. Have you noticed how beautiful these late summer clouds are and how busy the squirrels are? Life flourishes all around me   

You are very right John but the practice of crime and murder does not exist among animals. Only we are specialized in this practice, through greed and lust.

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