In my opinion, the right to life must always supercede the right to convenience by a person or persons who think a person's life no longer has value or potential. We cannot know what medical science will be able to do later today, much less next week or next month or next year. A 'hopeless' case today may be entirely curable tomorrow. I want our doctors to be in the business of saving lives, finding cures, helping, and healing, and never be put in the position of deciding who lives and who dies.
What about the important task of helping and healing those who are left and have a life to live? Can you imagine anyone wanting their loved ones to care for them in a vegetative condition when it severely limits their loved one's ability to live whatever portion of their life they have left to live? In end of life issues, I would have to distinguish those situations in which there is some real life to live for the disabled ones, like Alzheimer patients or those suffering from dementia and those in which there is no functional life.
I also believe that in the very end stages of a terminal illness where there is no hope for recovery, a person should be able to request an lawful end to their pain and suffering.
I agree with you Phoenix. There should be laws to protect the helpless. But the living need protection as well.
The way these issues seem to line up (not in every case but usually) is that those who are interested in controlling the way others live are usually interested in what they call "the right to life." While those who recognize the value of life on this earth (rather than some other place) and the need to manage feelings through acceptance of reality are more interested in the lives of the living.
Laws are so limited in these situations because they are rules that seek objectivity. And these situations are so varied and involve people of different beliefs and desires that they do not conform well to any easy objectivity. Still we must depend on laws for the protection of everyone. This is why we have to have judges whose job it is to interpret the law when a given situation doesn't quite fit. That's the duty of a judge. It's their job description.
Life is full of difficult decisions. Some of us like to depend on a wished for set of absolute rules and some of us prefer to recognize the need to responsibly make difficult decisions, recognizing that rules are no protection against the need to interpret the law. Laws can never be the total answer because each situation is so very complex and different. Laws don't always fit.