10. Suicide, legally assisted suicide, euthanasia: issues with great existential implications, and also the subject of form. If you are free to live your life dangerously, and to kill unborn children, you presumably are free to kill yourself as well. And even though society may reject this, I believe it is true, although with some qualifications. The first of these is that suicide is rarely the product of will. It almost always represents a desperate, and irrational, response to extreme personal circumstances. Our goal, therefore, should be to assist individuals in these circumstances, so they understand that they have options other than self-destruction. And, as this implies, when we become aware that someone is going to attempt suicide, we obviously have an obligation to stop them.

In a very few cases, though, suicide does have a rational basis, as for individuals who suffer from terminal illnesses (life is not a terminal illness!), and which are accompanied by great pain and loss of dignity (i.e., identity). In these cases people are free to end their lives, and may even seek our assistance. I would caution, though, that (1) they must make the decision and (2) actually implement it themselves, such as by pushing the button that releases life-ending drugs into their body. This is because there are many risks in these types of circumstances, particularly since such people are highly susceptible to persuasion. Those who encourage them to end their lives may not be seeking an end to their suffering, but rather an inheritance. Because of this, euthanasia, where someone else pushes the button, should never be allowed, and assistance should be provided only if the subject demonstrates mental competence to an independent psychiatrist, or panel of psychiatrists. (Wanting to end your life without the presence of the above conditions would also cause you to fail the competency exam.)

The only possible exception to this would be for people who are life-support dependent and brain dead.