The Ethics Of Physician Assisted Suicide

1723 WordsApr 22, 20167 Pages
Physician assisted suicide, the suicide of a patient suffering from an incurable disease, effected by the taking of lethal drugs provided by a doctor for this purpose. The question of whether or not this practice should be made legal in the United States has been one of controversy since 1997. Beginning with the case of Washington v. Glucksberg, where the United States Supreme Court ruled that the matter of the constitutionality of a right to a physician’s aid in dying, was best left up to the states. Then gaining even more controversy when Oregon passed the Death with Dignity Act, which allowed terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives by the practice of physician assisted suicide. (CNN.com) Proponents of physician assisted suicide…show more content…
The practice is only legal in the states of Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and California, with Oregon being the first state to legalize the practice in 1994 and California being the latest state to legalize it in 2015. Although the practice is legal within the states mentioned, each state has its own laws and regulations as to who can receive the assisted suicide, in addition to what kind of physician must perform the assisted suicide and what procedures they must take. For example, in the state of Oregon, the patient must have a terminal illness in addition to a prognosis of six months or less to live. The physician providing the service must be either a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathy and be willing to participate the act. In a different state such as California, the patient requesting an assisted suicide must first submit two oral requests, fifteen days apart, with a written request sent directly to his or her attending physician. California also requires the physician performing the practice to be either a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathy and be willing to participate the act. (CNN.com) One organization in particular that aids terminally ill patients with information regarding physician assisted suicide is the Final Exit Network. Originally known as the Hemlock Society which was organized in 1980 then over time split into two organizations known as the Final
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