VSED demands willful determination from those who do it. The requisite willfulness is an ethical strength, providing greater assurance of voluntariness. Dying by VSED has another major merit: its pace provides time for the person and loved ones to embrace death in a shared appreciation of life.

Support from professional caregivers is important in making dying by VSED comfortable. If acknowledged by its providers, this need for professional support has ancillary benefits: accurate information is more likely to be communicated to patients, and professional caregivers help normalize VSED and minimize abuses.

VSED faces a moral challenge when it is categorized as suicide. In an obvious sense, VSED is suicide: the person’s intention is to die, and the means employed assuredly causes death. Being a form of suicide does not imply that VSED is morally impermissible. Pursued to hasten death in a last stage of life, it is a response to “terminal” situations. This contributes greatly to VSED’s moral acceptability when perceived as suicide.


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pp. 121-126
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