I Support Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

1415 words - 6 pages

I Support Assisted Suicide


      In thousands of homes across the nation victims of terminal illnesses

sit in pain due to their sicknesses.  Should these people have to go through all

of that pain and suffering just for the end result of death?  Should these

people have the right to assisted death, to rid themselves of unbearable pain?

This topic has been one of the great controversies over the last several years.


     Not too long ago if someone was found assisting in suicide, it was seen

as a felony crime.  But recently there have been court cases taken up in two

federal appellate ...view middle of the document...

  If there is caring among the family,

the suicide would not take place until is was utterly necessary.


      Two other important moral questions also arise from this issue.  First,

do our mortal lives belong to us alone, are we sovereign over our bodies, or do

they belong to the communities of families in which we are embedded?  Second,

will this right give the terminally ill a greater sense of control over their

circumstances, or will it weaken respect for life?(Carter 2)


      The first question is ridiculous.  It seems as though Carter is trying

to say we will no longer be in charge of ourselves, and we will be living in a

socialistic society.  There is no reason why we should not be able to control

the destiny of our lives.  We, as human beings, are solely sovereign over our

own bodies.  Therefore, it is the terminally ill patient who should have the

ability to choose death over life.  It is this person who is experiencing the

pain and suffering of their disease, not a relative or close friend, much less

the government.  The legalization of doctor assisted suicide is no reason to

change anything with people who are not terminally ill.


      The second question, on the other hand, has some validity and logic to

it.  Doctor assisted suicide would give the dying a certain sense of control.

It would enable the patient to have a certain feeling of power, knowing that he

or she has the ability to complete his or her life upon request.  This may sound

somewhat awkward; however, it is quite possible that it would give the patients

a sense of well being. Furthermore, it gives them a chance to end their lives on

their terms, instead of letting a disease determine their course in life.  As

for the second half of this question, it should in no way weaken the respect for

life.  Losing respect for life is for the weak minded.  If anything it

strengthens the patient's respect; a person in the last stages of a terminal

illness has endured some of the worst life has to offer.  It takes away many of

his capabilities to perform what would normally be commonplace activities; in

short it has overtaken his life and dignity.  The ability to perform legal

assisted suicide would help to replace some of the dignity which the illness has

extracted from a person's life.  It would give the person the capability to end

matters on his own terms.


      John Stuart Mill, one of the great philosophers of the nineteenth

century, derived a theory which is an excellent example as an argument for the

legalization of doctor assisted suicide, or all moral crimes for that matter.

This theory was deemed the "Harm Principle":  a person is wholly sovereign over

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