Suicide Illegal ?

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Should suicide be illegal ?


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  • #1
Gokul43201
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Most countries have laws that make suicide illegal. Should suicide be illegal, in your opinion ? What is the rationale behind this ? Should not your right to life automatically come with the right to end it, as and when you so choose ? If not, why not ?

(And I've not got any crazy ideas...:rolleyes:)
 
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  • #2
Pengwuino
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Im absolutely confused on the idea of laws and suicide. I mean, the obvious question is, if you kill yourself, how are you suppose to be tried?
 
  • #3
honestrosewater
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Pengwuino said:
Im absolutely confused on the idea of laws and suicide. I mean, the obvious question is, if you kill yourself, how are you suppose to be tried?
Is the purpose of the law is to punish or deter (or both)?
Attempted suicide may also be taken into consideration. Does it make sense for attempted suicide to be illegal but suicide legal? I don't think either should be illegal, but it's sometimes in the best interest of the individual for society to be able to intervene; For instance, if someone is temporarily unstable, say severely depressed, and would probably change their mind if they recovered. I think society should intervene in such cases and stay out of the others, but that may be easier said than done.
 
  • #4
brewnog
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Life insurance policies won't pay out on deaths caused by suicide, or injuries caused by any attempt thereof, I believe this is a consequence of the law as it stands in most countries.

If suicide were to be legalised, there is a worry that there could be an increase in cases where a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death is not carried out, thus making it easier for murders to be made to look like suicide.

In any case, I voted 'yes'.
 
  • #5
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It's always seemed like a pretty bizarre law to me. Usually if a person is comtemplating suicide, they've got some pretty big issues going on in their lives. I don't see how throwing them in jail (for attempted suicide) could possibly help the situation.

@brewnog: I think the reason life insurance companies don't pay for suicide is they would feel like they had a hand in it. If a person was having severe financial problems and knew he could get $500,000 for his family by committing suicide, he would be more likely to try it.
 
  • #6
PerennialII
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No, I don't think laws solve anything here .... punishing someone on the verge appears ridicilous considering the problems the individual is going through ... granted, making sure people get help might be tackled judicially.
 
  • #7
Monique
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Gokul43201 said:
Most countries have laws that make suicide illegal. Should suicide be illegal, in your opinion ? What is the rationale behind this ? Should not your right to life automatically come with the right to end it, as and when you so choose ? If not, why not ?
Jumping in front of trains or off of buildings ofcourse is illegal, but the reason that people resort to such measure is because suicide is illegal. It does protects citizens from making wrong decisions: if you really have problems a person should see a professional first. Maybe in the future you will be able to approach a board of experts and ask for mercy. Assisted suicide already takes place in certain countries, in case of terminal illnesses.
 
  • #8
plover
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Yeah, it's not clear quite what it means to classify as illegal an act where by definition the main effect is to render the perpetrator dead. (What, the law is pissed off because they don't get to prosecute?) This is especially true as attempted suicide is apparently not a crime, like attempted murder. (And if it were, I mean, talk about blaming the victim...)

I wonder whether making suicide technically criminal allows for some types of interventions that would otherwise be illegal if they were not being done in order to prevent a crime from taking place. It wouldn't be the weirdest legal fiction ever invented.

IIRC, a fairly clear psychological distinction can be made between people who are thoroughly determined to kill themselves, and the more common case of those who will change their mind if given a chance, and the former are generally more likely to choose methods that are instantly fatal, so interventions are more likely to help the latter group. (Maybe someone else remembers the details of all this better than I do. I feel like this statement invites the response: "the ones who are 'thoroughly determined to kill themselves' are the ones who succeed...")

brewnog said:
Life insurance policies won't pay out on deaths caused by suicide, or injuries caused by any attempt thereof, I believe this is a consequence of the law as it stands in most countries.
I'm not sure why suicide would have to be a crime in order for them to write life insurance policies this way, but it does make me wonder what happens to your life insurance policy if you die by, say, being shot while robbing a bank? And does it make a difference whether you were shot by the police or by another robber?
brewnog said:
If suicide were to be legalised, there is a worry that there could be an increase in cases where a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death is not carried out, thus making it easier for murders to be made to look like suicide.
I'm not sure this makes sense. Given that murder is a crime, an investigation would still be required to determine if a crime took place, just like with some accidental deaths and deaths by 'natural causes'.
 
  • #9
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plover said:
I wonder whether making suicide technically criminal allows for some types of interventions that would otherwise be illegal if they were not being done in order to prevent a crime from taking place. It wouldn't be the weirdest legal fiction ever invented.
This makes sense. People suspected of mental illness can't legally be held against their will unless they're deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. The part about "danger to themselves" may have it's legal underpinnings in the law against suicide.
 
  • #10
Pengwuino
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How in the world is the law meant to deter people? Are you really thinking up plans to evade the police after you successfully kill yourself?
 
  • #11
honestrosewater
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Pengwuino said:
How in the world is the law meant to deter people? Are you really thinking up plans to evade the police after you successfully kill yourself?
Some people obey the law out of respect or a feeling of obligation or duty, as a matter of principle. And those who aren't serious, who are seeking attention or sympathy have reason to consider the consequences.
 
  • #12
Pengwuino
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What consequences though? If its illegal to attempt suicide then i understand, but if its simply illegal to commit it, it makes no sense. I think if you have the metal state that allows respect for laws, i think you probably dont have the metal state to want to end your life though... but i dunno... whole idea seems weird to me.
 
  • #13
Chi Meson
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THe act of suicide, being illegal, allows for various insurance companies to not pay up on most life insurance contracts. I don't know if this is necessary, since the contracts usually specifically state suicide in an exclusion clause.

I think that also the illegality of suicide automatically makes assisting in suicide illegal.
 
  • #14
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Chi Meson said:
THe act of suicide, being illegal, allows for various insurance companies to not pay up on most life insurance contracts. I don't know if this is necessary, since the contracts usually specifically state suicide in an exclusion clause.
I think they could exclude it even if it weren't illegal, couldn't they?
 
  • #15
Chi Meson
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zoobyshoe said:
I think they could exclude it even if it weren't illegal, couldn't they?
My thoughts too, perhaps a lawyer can pitch in on this. The illegality might be a legal basis for the exclusion. That's just a guess.
 
  • #16
arildno
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It is simply disgusting to be in favour of making suicide an illegal act.
There is no valid moral or rational arguments to this position; it is only to provide yet another "legal" opportunity to mistreat and abuse "losers" in a gleeful and sadistic manner.
 
  • #17
cronxeh
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I think it all depends on circumstances. Consider initial conditions - the reason behind it, consider the final outcome - will the individual jumping from a building danger pedestrians walking down on the street?

If initial conditions are so that the individual has lost an ability to enjoy life, either through the injury, disease, or loss of a loved one, then that individual enters a phase of decision between continuing his or her existance, only burdened with the consequences of actions on immediate family members

If the final outcome will result in an injury of fellow human beings (jumping off from a building and landing on a crowd, blowing yourself up, smashing and airplane into a building, setting your house on fire, etc) then it is illegal

But if a person has made all preparations and paid in full burial or cremation fees and services, as well as settled all his or her debt to society, then perhaps they have the full right to terminate their life as and when they chose to do so
 
  • #18
Section 401 of the California Penal Code said:
Aiding or abetting suicide
Every person who deliberately aids, or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide, is guilty of a felony.
I can't find anything else in the penal code directly relating to suicide.
I voted "sometimes" but I really don't think that suicide should be illegal or punishable. I believe that the only way in which anyone, in this country, is punished for suicide is if they survive. They aren't really even punished. They are sent to a county mental instatute for observation and are required to pay for the expenses they incured by being taken there. I think this works out pretty well for the most part except that the facilities available aren't very adequate.
The vast majority of people who attempt to commit suicide don't really intend to kill themselves. It's a "call for help" or perhaps more accurately "a way of getting attention" and a very stupid one at that. I think it's quite resonable to make these people pay for the expenses and to throw them in a rubber room for a couple days.
 
  • #19
Pengwuino
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arildno said:
It is simply disgusting to be in favour of making suicide an illegal act.
There is no valid moral or rational arguments to this position; it is only to provide yet another "legal" opportunity to mistreat and abuse "losers" in a gleeful and sadistic manner.
No need to add all the emotion into it lol. Its not necessarily "disgusting" seeing as how nothing disgusting is being done. Just some silly legal technicality issue. There is no sadism involved here. I dont see how you can mistreat someone if they are dead. I suppose if you make it a law that you must poke dead people you find... then thats rather sadistic...

I dont understand people who cant commit suicide correctly that actually want to. People who want to actually kill themselves and arent just doing it for attention or anything need to just get 2 guns, aim, fire. People like that need to get out of society because too many of them pull that psycho crap where they go out in public and start killing people left and right as some sort of last attack on this evil society that supposedly hurt them so much.
 
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  • #20
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I've had a great grandfather and a great uncle who both committed suicide after they were diagnosed with cancer. In those days there wasn't much that could be done for them. They were faced with death and chose the quick way out instead of a long suffering.

I recently had an aunt who died of cancer. She spent years fighting the disease. The last month of her life was terrible. I think she chose to live until, but if she had made the choice to end her life I would have understood it. I'm not sure my family would have.

I'm assuming that by suicide the quetion implies attempted suicide. I'm not sure yet how I feel about this. Making attempted suicide illegal prevents people from assisting in suicide. This may be a good thing, because someone would most certainly try to make a profit from people's misery. Then again, in the case of the terminally ill it might be a bad thing because it will prolong suffering that they may not wish to endure.

Another effect of illegal suicide is that it prevents an opportunity to step in and give help to someone that tries to end their life. Once the problem is out in the open the person may get the help that they need. I think it's at least worth a shot. I don't see much of a purpose to keep them locked up in prison though. I don't think they will get the help they need in that kind of an atmosphere.

I see more benefits for making it illegal than legal. People who are determined to commit suicide will do so whether there is a law or not. Those who would commit suicide if it were legal may find some hope somewhere and be glad that they changed their mind. But in specific cases I think assisted suicide may be a good idea.
 
  • #21
ShawnD
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brewnog said:
If suicide were to be legalised, there is a worry that there could be an increase in cases where a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death is not carried out, thus making it easier for murders to be made to look like suicide.
If it's to be done at clinics and hospitals, this wouldn't be a problem.
 
  • #22
So far as I can find there are no laws directly related to suicide or the attempt. The only laws I can find are in regards to assisting suicide. So far as I know, at least in this country, you don't go to jail for attempted suicide you go to an institution for observation, usually only two to three days depending on just how crazy the person is.
The only "punishment" I know of is that they make you go to an institute and make you pay the expense.
So where are these laws against attempting suicide?
 
  • #23
honestrosewater
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Mental competence is already an established legal concept and seems appropriate here. There are legal processes people go through when preparing for their (eventual) death (creating a will and such). I think it makes sense to have a similar process for suicide, incorporating an automatic mental competency evaluation. This would benefit those people who are rational and want die, and it would also be a safe alternative for those who need help; Instead of attempting suicide, they could just start the legal process and receive the attention and help they need.
May be interested in reading:
http://www.apa.org/journals/features/pro303235.pdf [Broken]
(url=http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/articles/aging/termpats.html[/URL])
 
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  • #24
Moonbear
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zoobyshoe said:
This makes sense. People suspected of mental illness can't legally be held against their will unless they're deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. The part about "danger to themselves" may have it's legal underpinnings in the law against suicide.
I have to agree on this view as well. If you're successful in committing suicide, it's a fairly moot point whether or not it was illegal since you're a bit too dead to be prosecuted for it. But, if you're about to attempt suicide, people can actually intervene and get you the help you need, even if by force. If it isn't illegal, then there isn't anything anyone can do if they see someone about to jump off a bridge other than stand back and let them do what they want.

Also, when someone attempts suicide, they aren't thrown in jail for it, but they can be forcibly admitted into a hospital or mental health facility to receive the treatment they need.
 
  • #25
arildno
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Pengwuino said:
No need to add all the emotion into it lol. Its not necessarily "disgusting" seeing as how nothing disgusting is being done. Just some silly legal technicality issue. There is no sadism involved here. I dont see how you can mistreat someone if they are dead. I suppose if you make it a law that you must poke dead people you find... then thats rather sadistic...

.
Sure it's sadistic to keep open the opportunity to jail someone who tried (and failed) to kill himself, and that's precisely the type of opportunity which illegality of suicide opens up for. It is irrelevant whether jailing actually happens or not, one should not go about branding deeply unhappy people who have screwed up for themselves as criminals.

As for mental competence issues, that is a completely different way of looking at the problem than the punishment idea inherent in concepts of illegality.
 
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