Should Assisted Suicide be Legal?
June 3, 2007
Everyone reaches a time in ones life where they will have to face the cold, hard facts about death. It may be a family member who is passing away, or themselves. Death is a natural part of life. But there may be a time that death does not come quickly. Patients with terminal illness may suffer horribly, with no immediate end in sight. These patients or their families should have the right to make a life ending decision without the fear of legal ramifications.
Physician assisted suicide should be legal. Patients, with the help of their physicians, should be ...view middle of the document...
As medical technology advances, those bills grow larger and larger. A patient should be able to choose to end their life sooner, if it is ending anyway to spare their loved ones the pain and guilt that comes with caring for someone who is terminally ill.
â€œTo others, this qualifies as a terrible and insidious form of state-sponsored murder, along with abortion, cloning, stem-cell research, and euthanasia. After all, they say, if we let the state kill terminally ill people, whatâ€™s to stop them from killing the handicapped, old, and mentally ill?â€(Miller, 2006, pp. 106-109).
Opponents of legalized assisted suicide fear that it will carry over to disabled persons, as well as the terminally ill. After all, disabled persons face a lifetime of pain and sometimes unhappy lives. They deal with societyâ€™s acceptance of them on an almost daily basis. There is a possibility that assisted suicide for terminally ill patients will send a message to disabled people that society considers their lives unbearable as well(Miller, 2006, pp.106-109).
During the 1930â€™s, euthanasia was linked to Nazism and was a discredited practice. As the Nazi government in Germany â€œsystematically euthanized large numbers of sick or infirm patients in addition to implanting their final solution for Jewsâ€¦â€ (Larson, 2004, pp.1245-1262). The Nazi euthanasia program disposed of the disabled without their consent based on social considerations. Once legalized for some, others that are sick or depressed may take advantage of the law and use it to end their own lives. If this is the case, it may be hard to control physicians who write prescriptions for life-ending drugs. Once some people are viewed as expendable, others will be as well.
Besides life ending drugs, another issue that has come to light is the removal of feeding and hydration tubes. The decision to remove these life sustaining tubes from patients who are not able to give consent because of their physical or mental condition has fallen upon their families. This is the same as â€œâ€¦denying the patientâ€™s human worth by allowing them to die by discontinuing food and fluids (Larson, 2004, pp.1245-1262).
There is also an ethical aspect to assisted suicide. â€œBased on the Hippocratic ethic, physician assisted suicide cannot be a legitimate medical practice because it does not heal and therefore is not beneficial to the patientâ€¦â€ (Hughes, 2006, pp. 207-235). Physicians cannot ethically end a patientsâ€™ life, according to the Oath.
The fact that the Catholic Church considers suicide a sin should also be taken into consideration. Many times, religious beliefs prevent people from making the choice to end their life, or to support it.
Euthanasia is an emotionally charged subject in society today. â€œDerived from the Greek terms ea meaning good, and thanos meaning death, euthanasia is the act of bringing death to another person in a relatively...