Written by Oliver Micheals
With the tragic passing of Robin Williams, the issue of suicide has once again been thrust into conversations at bars, workplaces and dinner tables around the world.
What you won’t likely hear about are the people like Craig Ewert who went to great lengths to kill himself before succumbing to the agony of terminal illness, ALS in his case.
Ewert was the subject of a controversial Frontline documentary that chronicled his final days before the right to die activists at Digitas helped the Brit end his life in one of the few European countries where its allowed: Switzerland.
Dignitas clinic in Zurich is hardly the type of tourist destination you’d think to visit on a Swiss vacation. Those that do visit rarely need a ticket home – and that’s because death is the main attraction.
They call it “suicide tourism,” which is really just a nice way of saying “traveling to where it’s legal to be put out of your misery.”
It’s a booming travel trend that’s doubled in Switzerland since 2009, mostly drawing terminally ill Europeans looking to go out on their own terms where they can’t in their own home country.
You won’t see too many Americans in Switzerland’s suicide clinics, and that’s because it’s legal here if you trek to the right state.
Oddly enough, the Supreme Court doesn’t have your back on this one. Back in 1997, they ruled that Americans don’t have a constitutional right to die. That means the right for Americans to determine your fate when certain death looms varies from person to person.
Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico form a tiny minority in this country that permit physician assisted suicide (PAS). Even then, you’ve gotta be really terminally ill and of “sound mind” to qualify.
Let’s be real guys — that’s ridiculous. Why? Because we’ve handed over the reins on self-determination to medical “ethics” and the politics of religion, leaving citizens already bound for death to suffer out their remaining days.
We’ve gotta have the nerves to say that helping the terminally ill find relief is different from helping the depressed step off a ledge.
This post originally appeared on RYOT.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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