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Assisted Suicide and the Right to Choose Essay

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     Abstract: Religious or moral beliefs may prevent some of us from seeking the assistance of others to hasten our own death. But should we hold others accountable because of the standards that we choose to live by? With adversaries of assisted-suicide opposing the legalization of such acts, we are forcing our beliefs onto others who prefer peace and comfort at their time of death. As Christians, non-Christians, philosophers, teachers and laypersons, we all share one very key affiliation other than life and death itself. We are born with the "freedom of will", either by the Grace of God, or some other greater force. As such, it appears logical that we have some preconceived right to choose whether or not we aggressively seek death.

 Throughout the centuries, there has been increasing debate regarding suicide and the acceptable reasons for committing such an act. Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and David Humes are just a sample of the many philosophers and theologians that have commented on this delicate subject - each with slightly differing views. For this essay, I will focus on assisted suicide as it relates to the development of acceptable standards that would be uncompromising to the beliefs and ideals of differing social groups. It is in this manner that I will attempt to outline some of the increasingly difficult dilemmas presented by this hotly debated subject.

Do terminally ill patients have the right to choose death with the assistance of others? Do religious and political leaders have the right to intervene with a patientís decision to die with the assistance of others? These two questions are some of the many about which this increasingly complex debate thrives. Society is often asked to answer each ques...


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...on ñ The Second Year." Amy D. Sullivan, Katrina Hedberg, David W. Fleming. The New England Journal of Medicine. February 24, 2000. v.342, n.8

"A Right to Choose Death? Moral Argument for the Permissabilty of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide." F. M. Kamm. Boston Review on the WEB. Summer, 1997.

"Beyond the Call of Duty: A Daughter Reflects on the Meaning of Her Motherís Suicide. Vivian Rothstein. Boston Review on the WEB. Summer, 1997.

"Right To Die Denied" Online Focus(PBS Newshour). June 26, 1997.

Books

Uhlmann, M. (1998) . Last Rights? Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Weir, R. (1997) . Physician-Assisted Suicide. Indiana: Indiana University Press

Shavelson, L. (1995) A Chosen Death. New York: Simon & Schuster

Hamel, R., DuBose, E. (1996) Must We Suffer Our Way To Death? Texas: Southern Methodist University Press

 


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Title Length Color Rating  
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