Essay on Is Physician Assisted Suicide Ethical?

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Is Physician Assisted Suicide Ethical?
Theresa Anderson
SOC 120 Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility
Instructor: David Jung
November 25, 2012

Physician assisted suicide, is this an ethical procedure? Many feel strongly on both sides of this issue. Some states such as Washington and Oregon have made Physician assisted suicide legal. Other states such as Michigan and Massachusetts have put the issue to a vote and the voters have turned down the option. What exactly is physician assisted suicide? According to, the definition is a situation in which a physician provides the means of death for a gravely ill patient .Dehal and Levy explain, “The Death With Dignity Act (DWDA) allows mentally competent,
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Who is ethically harmed by physician assisted suicide? The family members that believe that suicide is against their family’s religion may consider themselves ethically harmed. The doctors who feel that assisting in the suicide is against the Hippocratic Oath may feel that this is unethical, but as stated in End-of-life issues in the acute and critically ill patient, “ Patient autonomy is a respect for an individual's right of self-rule. It implies that a patient best knows his/her own goals and values relating to medical interventions. In addition, patients have the right to make decisions that may conflict with the recommendations of family members and health care providers,” (Savory & Marco, 2009) According to the utilitarianism argument physician assisted suicide is ethical.
With deontology the conclusion would remain the same as with the utilitarianism principle. Mosser explains, “The deontologist argues that we have a duty, or an obligation, to treat other people with respect; human beings have dignity, and we must take that dignity into consideration when dealing with them.”(Mosser, 2010, Ch1, Pg7) In letting a person choose to die with dignity, we show our respect to them during their final days. As long as the person is able to communicate that their wish is to have a doctor help end their life the deontologist would state that physician assisted suicide is an ethical practice.
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