LUCIANA DADALTO PH.D.
Centro Universitário Newton Paiva, School of Law Belo Horizonte-MG, Brazil.
The aging of the world’s population is a phenomenon that has impacted different areas of knowledge. There are ongoing discussions in medicine about how to improve the quality of aging and how to secure more and more years of life for humankind. Studies on immortality, cryogenics, memory transplantation, anti-aging pills have taken over the international research. In this scenario an important juridical discussion arises: the right to voluntary discontinuation of aging. That is, the elderly and healthy can simply get tired of living and having lawful access to assisted suicide? Cases such as the Australian’s David Goodall, who at age 104, without terminal comorbidity, performed assisted suicide with the help of the Swiss organization LifeCircle and, more recently, the 74-year-old Frenchwoman Jacqueline Jencquel, put the debate on the world agenda. Jacqueline states that “old age is an incurable disease, which is fatal in any case,” and so will perform its life-assisted suicide at LifeCircle in January 2020. Philip Nitschke, president of Exit International, goes on to say that suicide should be a Human Right. While assisted suicide is banned in countries such as Brazil, it is allowed in some US states, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg only for patients with incurable and terminal illnesses. The interpretation of Swiss legislation has allowed the realization in people that have no terminal illnesses and deepened the debate on autonomy, especially in old age.