End Of Life Issues : Assisted Suicide

2445 Words Nov 30th, 2016 10 Pages
End of Life Issues: Assisted Suicide
The legal complexities regarding death and euthanasia are currently being worked through in the courts and state legislatures. Those in favor of assisted suicide argue that it is the ultimate right of self-determination and it upholds the individual’s right to make decisions about his or her dying process. Proponents believe that long-term suffering should not have to be endured and that individuals deserve the right to death with dignity and without excessive mental, physical, and spiritual degradation (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2007).
Opponents, meanwhile, assert that suicide is unethical and a mortal sin for which the deceased cannot receive forgiveness. They view assisted suicide as “assisted murder” and claim that modern healthcare can provide almost everyone a peaceful, pain-free, comfortable, and dignified end to life. There is also a fear of dying which includes pain, abandonment, and loss of control; all of which, opponents argue, hospices can alleviate (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2007). These two differing viewpoints complicate the government’s ability to formulate legislation that both protects individual’s right to die and prevents wrongful deaths.
Background and Context
The attitudes and moral issues related to end of life decisions varied across time and cultures. According to Ian Dowbiggin (2003), “Throughout classical antiquity, there was widespread support for voluntary death as opposed to prolonged agony, and physicians…
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