The Right to Die

1493 Words3 Pages
The Right to Die: Legalization of Assisted Suicide

Medical science has experienced significant advancement since the 1960s, and has made great progress in prolonging people’s lives, even giving time to those who are suffering from terminal illnesses. However, some patients, after weighing the high costs of medical procedures and the vastly limited lifestyle of those living on borrowed time turn toward assisted suicide as a possible option. Assisted suicide is based on the belief that individuals should be allowed access to medical assistance to end their lives voluntarily, when and how they choose. Assisted suicide typically involves the physician or doctor providing access to a lethal dose of medication, which the patient then self-administers. Physician-assisted suicide differs slightly from active euthanasia as it requires the patient to be the one to administer the lethal dose, instead of the allowing the physician to do so. The practice of withholding certain medical treatments based on an informed patient’s refusal, and stopping life-support treatment, or not starting it in the first place is already legal and commonplace. Neither of these measures is considered killing, even though such decision result in the death of the patient. However, the line blurs in the case of assisted suicide, and in the eyes of many people, and under the law in most places, assisted suicide is killing, which is illegal.

Arguments for the Legalization of Assisted Suicide
Proponents for assisted suicide believe that an individual's right to choose the time and circumstances of his or her death and/or to seek assistance in facilitating death should be guaranteed and protected by law. Justification for legalization encompasses the...

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...otected by law. Opponents to legalization who preach on the “sanctity of life” make a fundamental mistake: it is not mere quantity of life that matters, but its quality; and since dying is a living act, the quality of experience at the end of life, or in conditions of incurable distress, is the overriding consideration. To believe that mere length of existence, however unbearable and painful, trumps the kindness of granting someone's request for help to end their suffering easily and quickly, is to have one's priorities utterly wrong. Others warn of the “slippery slope” of legalization and the possible abuse of physician-assisted suicide. However, abuse is possible in all walks of life, and a carefully drafted law would provide the necessary fail-safes, protections and checks while a allowing those in unbearable distress the sanctuary of an easeful end to suffering.
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