Now that I’ve demonstrated that my ethical theory can be used to make educated decisions in situations that we can potentially face daily, how does my ethical theory fit with issues of life or death? My ethical theory focuses more on issues that an individual will face in their everyday life. It does not directly deal with issues of life and death; however you can still go through the core concepts to make a decision. For instance, let's take a look at assisted suicide.
The process of assisted suicide, or physician-assisted death, is a hotly debated topic that still remains at the forefront of many national discussions today. Assisted suicide can be described as the suicide of patient by a physician-prescribed dose of legal drugs. The reason that this topic is so widely debated is that it infringes on several moral and religious values that many people in the United States have. But, regardless of the way that people feel, a person’s right to live is guaranteed to them in the United States Constitution, and this should extend to the right to end their own life as well. The reasons that assisted suicide should be legalized in all states is because it can ease not only the suffering of the individual, but the financial burden on the family that is supporting him/her. Regardless of opposing claims, assisted suicide should be an option for all terminally ill patients.
The story of Brittany Maynard is a very tragic one. Brittany was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer at the tender age of 29. No treatment could save her life and the treatments that were available would have greatly affected her physically, emotionally, and mentally. This diagnoses stripped her of starting a future with her newly-married husband and simply experiencing life to the best of her ability. Knowing this, and knowing that her cancer would only get more aggressive with time—taking her sense of self, bit by bit everyday—what was she to do? Through research, she discovered death by dignity, which is an “end of life option for mentally competent, terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live” (Maynard). After relocating to Oregon (one of the few states that death by dignity is authorized) she received medication to take, in the event that she wanted to die on her own terms. Brittany Maynard died just over a month to the date that her article was published by CNN.
For multiple years, the debate on physician assisted suicide has prevailed. Physician assisted suicide is the death of a terminally ill patient, who wants to die on their own terms with the administration of a doctor. This is different than euthanasia because physician assisted suicide is backed by a controlling legal authority (“Physician…”). Some debaters are uncomfortable with the morality issues that arise with doctors killing patients or physician assisted suicide being abused. Others focus on the pain people who are terminally ill suffer from and the control physician assisted suicide gives them. Overall, the right to live or die should not be up to the government. Physician assisted suicide is legal in six states within the United States. Specific regulations are already practiced in five of those six states. Legalizing physician assisted suicide nationally would solve any regulation issue. Physician-assisted suicide should be legal nationwide with strict regulations in order to offer the freedom that the United States stands for.
Additionally, the term “euthanasia” does not mean the same thing as assisted suicide. Often people confuse these processes when they differ immensely. Despite this, they remain similar in their resulting death of a human life through the help of a physician. Euthanasia is the direct killing of a patient by a physician by means of lethal injection and it is completely controlled by the doctor. On the other hand, patients in assisted suicide have full control over the process that leads to their death. For this reason, procedures of these sorts must be eliminated as medical treatments and should not be authorized. Consequently, physician assisted suicide has been proven to lead to euthanasia in some cases. Assisted suicide should become illegal in all fifty states of the United States of America because it raises religious concern, endorses legalized murder, puts vulnerable people at risk of abuse, and
The thoughts of assisted suicide are very mixed. Some people believe that it is a great way to put terminally-ill patients out of the their pain and suffering. They see it as a way for a person to die with dignity after suffering from a painful disease. Others think it is beyond morally wrong for a doctor to intentionally end a patient’s life. They feel that a doctor should not have unnecessary deaths riding, on their shoulders the rest of their career. Assisted suicide goes way beyond the beliefs of medicine and is morally wrong in so many ways.
According to a poll in 2015, 68% of United States residents believe that physician assisted suicide should be legal (“In”). Physician assisted suicide (PAS) gives terminally ill patients a way to end their lives peacefully before they die from whatever terminal illness they have. If physician assisted suicide became legal, many people would be saved from pain and anguish. On top of that, ill people could retain some power and control over their life. And though bringing money into the discussion might be crude, assisted suicide can save millions. Physician assisted suicide should be legal in order to ensure a dignified death for terminally ill patients.
Currently, six states have enacted the death-with-dignity law allowing a terminally ill patient the right to choose how their life ends after obtaining permission from those in authority. In 44 states, state law prohibits assisted suicide and an active participant considered as committing a criminal offence. The U.S. Supreme Court protects a patient’s liberty to refuse medical treatment, but continues to side with the government’s interest in preserving life outweighing a person’s right to assisted-suicide. According to the U.S. Code, “Assisted suicide, euthanasia, and mercy killing have been criminal offenses throughout the United States and, under current law, it would be unlawful to provide services in support of such illegal activities.” (U.S. Code)
Currently, physician-assisted suicide or death is illegal in all states except Oregon, Vermont, Montana and Washington. Present law in other states express that suicide is not a crime, but assisting in suicide is. Supporters of legislation legalizing assisted suicide claim that the moral right to life should encompass the right to voluntary death. Opponents of assisted suicide claim that society has a moral and civic duty to preserve the lives of innocent persons. There is a slippery slope involving the legalizing assisted suicide. Concern that assisted suicide allowed on the basis of mercy or compassion, can and will lead to the urging of the death for morally unjustifiable reasons is
The topic of physician-assisted suicide has become very controversial because of the ethical questions. The physical state of health of the patient, the patient’s personal life, and even the financial pressure of the patient are all factors to consider when contemplating whether or not to legalize this controversial cause of death. Physician-assisted suicide regarding medical ethics states that a physician cannot legally give any patient a lethal injection to end their life, but they can take the patient off of life support in order to increase the process of death. Physician-assisted suicide should be legalized at a federal level and should be morally acceptable for patients who are terminally ill and can no longer be treated to improve their medical situation.
The topic of assisted suicide is very controversial and is heavily debated upon all around the world. While physician assisted suicide is only legal in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and a few states in the U.S., it is illegally practiced widely by physicians and nurses, such as Dr. Jack Kevorkian. I first heard of physician assisted suicide when the death of Dr. Kevorkian, an assisted suicide advocate and a suicide aid, was on the news in 2011. Kevorkian assisted in the suicide of many patients who could not find any more reasons to live. Many people oppose of his practice, but I believe Kevorkian was trying to help these patients find peace. This topic is important because it can help end the long pain and suffering of patients. Seeing the struggles of the patients Dr. Kevorkian has worked with makes me believe that the legalization of physician assisted suicide it necessary, but not everyone agrees.
Assisted Suicide has through out history caused controversy among our society. There are two sides to this issue, one that passionately supports it, and those who religiously disagree. I believe that assisted suicide should become legal for several reasons. Assisted suicide gives individuals the right to end their suffering when they personally feel that their time has come to die. Assisted suicide should become legal because if one can decide to put an animal out of its misery, why shouldn’t that person have the same right to put themselves out of their own misery if that hardship came upon them. Though the topic may seem morbid, dying people in grave medical circumstances have rights. It’s important we recognize their right to end their own suffering and respect the very personal decisions these people are forced to make.
Radical assumptions have been made on whether or not physician-assisted death should be legalized in the United States because of its citizens’ uncertainty about this delicate subject. Physician-assisted suicide is the method by which an individual is provided with the drugs or equipment needed to commit suicide. The terms “aid in dying” or “death with dignity” are preferred over “suicide” due to their distinction from "suicide," where assisted or not, it remains illegal while “aid in dying” is permitted. This allows for the patient to have control over their life and have the right to be able to choose whether to live a life filled with tedious pain and/or suffering, or end their misery and be able to rest in peace.
Though assisted suicide is a humane way to end human suffering, it is still illegal in most US states (ProQuest Staff). Assisted suicide has created many ripples and tears in state governments all over the united states. Oregon legislature began to take action in passing a law called measure 16 or “The Oregon Death with Dignity Act” to make assisted suicide legal in the late 90’s (ProQuest Staff). After Oregon had passed the laws the US government got involved issuing a temporary restraining order and an injunction barring the state from putting Measure 16 into effect (ProQuest Staff). Two years later Oregon residents gain the right to end their lives if they have a terminal illness (ProQuest Staff). Oregon’s law on assisted suicide is there but is very precise as to when and how one can end their life. Patients wanting to obtain a lethal prescription must first, have a serious and incurable illness, and secondly requests for lethal medication must be made no more than six months from death (Wente). After Oregon complications with passing their Death with Dignity Act other states soon began to follow creating their own laws on assisted suicide. The second state in the US to pass these laws was Washington, they passed their version of the act in 2008. After Washington, Montana soon followed in 2010 becoming the third state to pass legislature approving assisted suicide.
Assisted suicide questions personal values and ethics. Morality, consequences and religious ramifications play a role in the decision to legalize assisted suicide. Support for assisted suicide is support for the freedom of choice: the objections for assisted suicide are support for the right to life.