You, Jack Kevorkian, Pennsylvania, Your Parents, The Government,

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You, Jack Kevorkian, Pennsylvania, your parents, the government, the church, doctors? Who has the right to make the decision to end one’s life? The controversial topic of euthanasia has been in existence since ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC with its origination in the Hippocratic Oath and continues to gain popularity with the advancement in media and technology (Nordqvist). In this paper, we will examine the benefits of voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and why, in the year 2017 it should be nationally legalized.
Euthanasia is a process in which someone takes a deliberate action with the intent of ending a life to relieve intractable (persistent, unstoppable) suffering. Physician-assisted suicide is a form of
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Refusal of treatment allows for an individual to refuse the recommendations set forth by their physician if they are found to be of sound mind to make that decision. This option does allow for a person to have a say in their medical care and dying process however may not take away their pain and suffering which in turn could affect their overall quality of life. The final legal option is a living will or advance directive. This is an officially binding document drawn up by an individual which allows them the capability to make medical decisions in the event they become incapacitated to do so (Nordqvist).
If these alternative means to euthanasia eventually result in death anyway, why then should we force an individual to suffer unnecessarily rather than provide them the choice? Autonomy, or the right to self-govern is one of the major foundations of human rights in the United States and is therefore fundamental in decision-making in health care. It is the leading contributing factor in the legalization of euthanasia in countries such as Belgium, and the Netherlands (Karlsson et al., Dying cancer patients’ own opinions on euthanasia 35).
Another important factor to consider in one’s decision to end their own life is how they view its quality. In a study found by Mak and Elwyn, suffering was the top reason for terminally ill patients to want to end their life though PAS (345). She describes suffering as
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