Assisted Suicide Should Be Legal Essay

Assisted Suicide Should Be Legal Essay

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Recently, the topic of assisted suicide was thrust into public consciousness, with the story of now deceased Brittany Maynard creating heated conversations. On sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, advocates on both sides of the argument holding fierce debates about the consequences of Maynard’s post-mortem celebrity (Lee). The main theme seemed to be whether or not physician-assisted suicide should be legal, without much thought to the most concerning aspects of the argument. There are three important considerations to the assisted suicide debate: a concentration on the history of euthanasia in our country, why certain communities fear it, and what alternatives should be promoted instead.
Along with Dr. Kevorkian, Maynard’s name is now synonymous with the right-to-die movement. Before that, Maynard was a 29-year-old terminal brain cancer patient who suffered from debilitating headaches. She received a prognosis of six months left to live. Maynard’s research led her to understand that there was no cure, and that treatment was not something she wanted. Knowing that nothing could be done that would not cause more pain, she decided to die at a time of her own choosing. To qualify for the medical help to end her life she and her husband moved from California to Oregon, one of five states that have decriminalized physician-assisted suicide (Maynard). The move was not easy because along with dealing with her illness, and the physical issues of moving, she also had to find new doctors, and become a resident of Oregon. The reality of moving would have given her enough time to think and decide if her decision was the right one (Maynard).
After being prescribed the medication that would hasten her death, Brittany Maynard di...


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...wn that:
Our state hospitals for the feeble-minded, our almshouses, and our institutions for the crippled are full of people who are anxious to die. Many of them have been in their present condition since birth. The have never known a moment of joy or usefulness. They can be nothing but a hindrance and a pain to their friends and relatives. Many of the hideously deformed were better off out of this world than in it. If at birth they could have been legally removed, they would have been better off. (qtd. in Appel 629)
Further evidence comes from The Milwaukee Free Press which ran an article where they surmised that “all the idiots, all the insane, and all the fools” would be taken care of “leav[ing] a different sort of world”, while between 1906 and 1912 eight states enacted eugenics bills that enforced sterilization against those same people (qtd. in Appel 630).

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