Can we take the role of God?

The grey dilemma

 Anne-Louis De Roussy Girodet, The Funeral of Atala
Anne-Louis De Roussy Girodet, The Funeral of Atala
10 SEP 2014
by

I believe that each one of you faced in his family someone who was dying and I guess it wasn't easy to watch him dying but at the same it wasn't easy for him either. What would you say if I tell you that in Israel there is a member of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) who is trying to provide some dignity to those who have few months to live and enable them to choose whether to put an end to their life by their own hands, or to choose to leave the job for God?

In fact, MK Ofer Shelah is pushing that as a correction to an Israeli law which deals with a patient who tend to die. According Shelah's law, a patient like that who knows for sure that he has only half a year to live can sign a waiver which enable him to receive a sedative with the right dosage from any doctor and to put an end to his life. In this case the doctor will not face any criminal liability. It is important to say that a doctor can refuse to give such a sedative to his patient; the patient can ask it from any doctor because the whole process will be voluntarily.

MK Shelah spoke with me regarding this law when I met him at the Knesset and he pointed out that today, in our western society, people has the right to ponder about their way to end life both philosophically and medically. This act provides them the solution. Shelah also added that in 1997 the "Death with dignify act" was legislated in Oregon, United States, and few more countries in the States adopted it as well. The statistics showed that 80 people in a year decided to act in this way but only 40% went all the way and put an end to their life. Shelah claimed that it was a sign for the freedom to choose and that’s what he is willing to bring to the society of the State of Israel.

In order to prevent foreigners to catch a flight to Israel and die here, this law will have few restrictions such as: the person has to be an Israeli civilian at least for five years and the minimum age will be 18. The law received a majority in the legislative ministers committee and is suppose to pass in the forum of the Knesset. The purpose of this law is to return the patient some extent of control on his condition when he suffers body and sole agonies of diseases such cancer and ALS.

MK Shelah says that this law will solve the "grey dilemma" of doctors who are being asked by their patients to help them to finish their lives. He may have the point but in Israel where orthodox rabbi's opinion is still crucial, heavy debates on this issue are still expected. And for you, my dear readers, I leave a question: Do you really want to take the role of God?