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The Legality Of Physician Assisted Dying

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In 1997 a Supreme Court case, Washington v Glucksberg, questioned the status quo asserting that a physician should not be allowed to legally assist a terminally ill individual if he or she wishes to die. While the plaintiffs lost, the case made clear that several people in the country were questioning the status quo. The legality of physician assisted dying (PAD), synonymous with death with dignity, ultimately rests on the opinions of the public (which are often religiously and politically influenced) and therefore is dependent on a theory known as system justification (New York University). (System justification states that people will accept and even defend a status quo, simply because it is the norm.) This case was one of the many steps…show more content…
Let us take a second to truly understand dignity. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines dignity as, “the quality or state of being worthy, honored, and esteemed” as well as, “formal reserve for seriousness of manner, appearance, or language.” That being said, a dignified death, which would bring back a sense of power to a person otherwise without control of their life, should be done in a way that shows respect for one’s self. For the sake of uniformity we will look at the federal government in this matter, as well as solely focusing on people who are terminally ill and wish to die by their own means, in a dignified manner. As I stated, the Supreme Court upheld in 1997 that assisted suicide ought to be criminalized, as well as asserting that people do not have a “right to die” (The Kevorkian Verdict). With that said, despite a few state outliers, if an individual is in a circumstance where they wish to die, they have no other option than to take the matter into their own hands. Methods of suicide contain firearm, strangulation or suffocation, falling or jumping, and poisoning or drug overdoses, all ranging in effectiveness (NSPL). Imagine an individual that only has a few more months to live, and wants to regain control of their life. They can no longer go to the bathroom alone, and are constantly being monitored. They no longer wish to live, and they want to die in a dignified way. This person, in the status quo, has the options I
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