Individuals often debate whether physician-assisted suicide is morally right or wrong. According to the text, Oregon has a law that was passed in 1998 that legalized physician-assisted suicide (Timmons, 2017). This law allows competent individuals who have only six months or less left to live and that resides in Oregon to request a prescription from a physician that will end one’s life (Timmons, 2017). Michael Gill discusses objections to autonomy-based justifications of physician-assisted suicide. Individuals that are against autonomy-based justifications of physician-assisted suicide believe that the autonomy-based justifications of the law are irrational and absurd. One of the objections to autonomy-based justifications of physician-assisted suicide is that the autonomy-based justification implies that non-terminally ill individuals should also be given the option to commit suicide. The individuals that oppose this law thinks that giving everyone, including individuals that are not terminally ill, the option of physician-assisted suicide is irrational. …show more content…
The first way he responds is based on a libertarian viewpoint. Michael Gill points out that a libertarian viewpoint is that everyone should have the option to make any decision for oneself that they want. In addition, their viewpoint is that whether it is morally right or wrong should not be legally relevant if no one else is harmed. The other way Michael Gill responds to the objections is by saying that the law is not implying that assisted suicide should be legal for non-terminally ill individuals. He also points out that physician-assisted suicide does not violate autonomy since a person that is terminally ill will lose their decision-making ability regardless if they commit suicide or not. Through the law that legalizes physician-assisted suicide, a terminally ill individual can decide whether to end their life through suicide or let the illness kill
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There are many legal and ethical issues when discussing the topic of physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The legal issues are those regarding numerous court cases over the past few decades, the debate over how the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution comes into play, and the legalization vs. illegalization of this practice. The 14th Amendment states, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, §1). PAS in the past has been upheld as illegal due to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the constitution, but in recent years this same 14th amendment is also part of the reasoning for legalizing PAS, “nor shall any State deprive any person of…liberty” (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, §1). The ethical issues surrounding this topic include a patient’s autonomy and dignity and if PAS should be legalized everywhere. This paper is an analysis of the PAS debate and explores these different issues using a specific case that went to the supreme courts called Washington et al. v. Glucksberg et al.
As any individual can imagine, there is a lot of suffering and pain in most, if not all hospital settings. At times, no amount of medication or experimental treatment can change an individual’s mind on the quality of their life, such that the only way to end their suffering is to die, hence physician assisted suicide. Defined as a patient taking their own life with the help of a physician, this assisted suicide practice is highly controversial and illegal in most but California, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Vermont. Putting the law aside, the morality of the practice itself is still questioned.
In March of 1998, a woman suffering with cancer became the first person known to die under the law on physician-assisted suicide in the state of Oregon when she took a lethal dose of drugs. This law does not include people who have been on a life support system nor does it include those who have not voluntarily asked physicians to help them commit suicide. Many people worry that legalizing doctor assisted suicide is irrational and violates the life-saving tradition of medicine and it has been argued that the reason why some terminally ill patients yearn to commit suicide is nothing more than depression. Physician Assisted Suicide would lessen the human life or end the suffering and pain of those on the verge of dying; Physician Assisted Suicide needs to be figured out for those in dire need of it or for those fighting against it. The main purpose for this paper is to bring light on the advantages and disadvantages of physician-assisted suicide and to show what principled and moral reasoning there is behind each point.
There are concerns that the legalization of this will bring forth deaths for the wrong reason. It’s not that people don’t deserve the right to die, it’s that people don’t deserve to feel like they have to die. Everyone deserves the right to make a decision on his or her own, and no one should have to suffer; with that though, no one should have to feel like this is the easy way out. This is about the fact that making physician assisted suicide legal could put unneeded pressure on these patients. We have to think about the less fortunate, the lonesome, and the outcasts. Assisted suicide isn’t the answer to financial struggles or burdens. Rather than offering up this idea of physician-assisted suicide, shouldn’t we be making these patients comfortable? The healthcare system should focus on making terminally ill patients comfortable and
Although physician assisted suicide may result in the fulfillment of another’s choice, be considered a compassionate mean to end suffering, or even be considered a right, I believe it is not morally acceptable. In the act of physician assisted suicide, a patient voluntarily requests his or her doctor to assist in providing the means needed for self killing. In most cases of physician assisted suicide, patients who request this type of assistance are terminally ill and mentally competent (i.e. have sufficient understanding of an individual’s own situation and purpose and consequences of any action). Those who have committed the action of physician assisted suicide or condone the act may believe that one has the right to end their own life, the right of autonomy (the right or condition of self governing), the right to a dignified death, believe that others have a duty to minimize suffering, or believe it (physician assisted suicide) to be a compassionate act, or a combination of these things. However, since this act violates the intrinsic value of human life, it is not morally acceptable.
Imagine, if you will, that you have just found out you have a terminal medical condition. Doesn’t matter which one, it’s terminal. Over the 6 months you have to live you experience unmeasurable amounts of pain, and when your free of your pain the medication you’re under renders you in an impaired sense of consciousness. Towards the 4th month, you begin to believe all this suffering is pointless, you are to die anyways, why not with a little dignity. You begin to consider Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS). In this essay I will explain the ethical decisions and dilemmas one may face when deciding to accept the idea of Physician-Assisted Suicide. I will also provide factual information pertaining to the subject of PAS and testimony from some that advocate for legalization of PAS. PAS is not to be taken lightly. It is the decision to end one’s life with the aid of a medical physician. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary states that PAS is “Suicide by a patient facilitated by means (as a drug prescription) or by information (as an indication of a lethal dosage) provided by a physician aware of the patient’s intent.” PAS is considered, by our textbook – Doing Ethics by Lewis Vaughn, an active voluntary form of euthanasia. There are other forms of euthanasia such as non-voluntary, involuntary, and passive. This essay is focusing on PAS, an active voluntary form of euthanasia. PAS is commonly known as “Dying/Death with Dignity.” The most recent publicized case of PAS is the case of Brittany Maynard. She was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in California, where she lived. At the time California didn’t have Legislative right to allow Brittany the right to commit PAS so she was transported to Oregon where PAS is legal....
Throughout the course of history, advances in medical technology have prolonged the length of life and delayed death; however, terminal illnesses still exist and modern medicine is often unable to prevent death. Many people turn to a procedure known as Physician-Assisted suicide, a process by which a doctor aids in ending a terminally ill patient’s life. This procedure is painless and effective, allowing patients to control their death and alleviate unnecessary suffering. In spite of these benefits, Physician-Assisted suicide is illegal in many places both nationally and internationally. Despite the fact that Physician-Assisted suicide is opposed by many Americans and much of the world on ethical and moral grounds such as those based on religion and the morality of taking another life, it should still be legalized because it alleviates suffering of patients, allows patients to choose a dignified death, and allows patients to control their own fate instead of their disease controlling them.
Legalize physician assisted suicide - Those that believe that physician assisted suicide should be legal primarily argue on the basis of patient autonomy and family considerations. The first argument, patient autonomy, states that terminally ill patients should have the right to control the circumstances of their death and to determine when t...
In conclusion, all should firmly believe that physician assisted suicide should not be legalized in any state. Although it is legalized in Oregon it is not wise for any other state to follow that example. By now, all should strongly believe the growing public support for PAS still remains a very dangerous trend. The role of our physician is that of a healer, not a killer. It must be understood that in some cases the only way to relieve someone from their pain is to let them go. On the contrary, each human life has an
In current society, legalizing physician assisted suicide is a prevalent argument. In 1997, the Supreme Court recognized no federal constitutional right to physician assisted suicide (Harned 1) , which defines suicide as one receiving help from a physician by means of a lethal dosage (Pearson 1), leaving it up to state legislatures to legalize such practice if desired. Only Oregon and Washington have since legalized physician assisted suicide. People seeking assisted suicide often experience slanted judgments and are generally not mentally healthy. Legalization of this practice would enable people to fall victim to coercion by friends and family to commit suicide. Also, asking for death is unfair to a doctor’s personal dogma. Some argue that society should honor the freedom of one’s choice to take his own life with the assistance of a physician; however, given the reasoning provided, it is in society’s best interest that physician assisted suicide remain illegal. Physician assisted suicide should not be legalized because suicidal people experience distorted judgments resulting in not being mentally equipped to make such a decision, people who feel they are a burden to their family may choose death as a result, and physicians should not have to go against their personal doctrines and promises.
"With the stroke of a pen, California Gov. Jerry Brown made it legal for physicians in the state to prescribe lethal doses of medications if their terminally ill patients wish to end their lives. Brown signed the "End of Life Act" into law on Monday, and in doing so California joins four other states — Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana — where patients' right to choose doctor-assisted death is protected either by law or court order."
The ethical issues of physician-assisted suicide are both emotional and controversial, as it struggles with the issue of life and death. If you take a moment and imagine how you would choose to live your last day, it is almost guaranteed that it wouldn’t be a day spent lying in a hospital bed, suffering in pain, continuously being pumped with medicine, and living in a strangers’ body. Today we live in a culture that denies the terminally ill the right to maintain control over when and how to end their lives. Physicians-assisted suicide “is the voluntary termination of one's own life by the administration of a lethal substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician” (Medical Definition of Physician-Assisted Suicide, 2017). Physician-assisted
Physician-assisted suicide refers to the physician acting indirectly in the death of the patient -- providing the means for death. The ethics of PAS is a continually debated topic. The range of arguments in support and opposition of PAS are vast. Justice, compassion, the moral irrelevance of the difference between killing and letting die, individual liberty are many arguments for PAS. The distinction between killing and letting die, sanctity of life, "do no harm" principle of medicine, and the potential for abuse are some of the arguments in favor of making PAS illegal. However, self-determination, and ultimately respect for autonomy are relied on heavily as principle arguments in the PAS issue.
Assisted suicide brings up one of the biggest moral debates currently circulating in America. Physician assisted suicide allows a patient to be informed, including counseling about and prescribing lethal doses of drugs, and allowed to decide, with the help of a doctor, to commit suicide. There are so many questions about assisted suicide and no clear answers. Should assisted suicide be allowed only for the terminally ill, or for everyone? What does it actually mean to assist in a suicide? What will the consequences of legalizing assisted suicide be? What protection will there be to protect innocent people? Is it (morally) right or wrong? Those who are considered “pro-death”, believe that being able to choose how one dies is one’s own right.