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The Right to Live is the Right to Die

chalkNew Scientist: “FEW situations could be more distressing. Femke, a girl aged 14, has terminal bone cancer, cannot tolerate the pain and wants to die. The Belgian government is proposing to grant such a wish. It wants to legalise euthanasia for children of all ages – the first country in the world to do so.”

I’ve been saving my breath on this general topic for a pretty long time. It’s time to exhale: as I see it, a right to live is a right to die. Put differently, a right to die is a right of self-determination, i.e. the most fundamental of our freedoms. Dying is part of living. Dying and living are but two words for one and the same process.

While I am on this subject, let me also say this: “rights” are abstractions. We have them even if they are not legally or constitutionally codified. We are free whether we want to be or not. That’s how I see this: you are free to see it however you choose. Freedom is built-in.

Dignity image available from Shutterstock.

The Right to Live is the Right to Die

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

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APA Reference
Somov, P. (2013). The Right to Live is the Right to Die. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 12, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Nov 2013
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