A recurring theme surrounding the debates is the legalization of physician-assisted suicide will result in a slippery slope, thus pressuring and the inevitable abuse of “vulnerable groups”. Vulnerable groups are those who are vulnerable to prejudice (i.e. women, immigrants, minorities, terminally ill, and the elderly), or those whom view themselves as not worthy of care (Battin 2007). In order to assess the increased risk of PAS in vulnerable groups- specifically the old, data from Oregon and the Netherlands, the only two locations in which euthanasia and PAS are legal, were analyzed. There ... ... middle of paper ... ...impact on patients in "vulnerable" groups.
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Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is a topic, which proponents often support by the affirmation of patient free will or as the exercise of patient autonomy. The purpose of this paper is to examine this argument further from an inter-disciplinary approach, regarding PAS from medical, ethical and legal standpoints and to examine the concept of free will from the philosophical discipline. Are these concepts compatible in a meaningful context and can a sound argument be constructed to support PAS on the basis of patient free will? Derek Humphry, in Lawful Exit, defines PAS as a physician "providing the means by which a person can take his or her own life." The means, to which he refers, is a toxic substance and the directions for administration, which will produce death.
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