Physician Assisted Suicide Is Justified Essay

Physician Assisted Suicide Is Justified Essay

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Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is defined as the voluntary decision to end one’s life by administering lethal substances with the assistance of a physician (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=32841). It is frequently confused with euthanasia, however these terms are not equal. Euthanasia, contrastingly, is the deliberate act undertaken by one person with the intention of ending the life of another person in order to relieve their suffering (Boudreau & Somerville, 2014). This can be active, such as the administration of a substance in order to achieve the goal, or it can be passive, which is achieved by withholding or withdrawing from treatment. The difference between the two terms is that physician-assisted suicide is self-inflicted, whereas euthanasia is inflicted by another person. Currently, though, in the United States, PAS is illegal in all but 4 states and there is a growing debate on the ethics and laws regarding the issue. When talking about the ethics, it is important to take into account the definitions of rationality and practical rationality; they are highly similar but have one important distinguishing factor. Rationality is the property of being reasonable, whereas practical rationality is “the property of certain convictions, desires, or actions to be well-justified” or the ability to make decisions and perform actions based on reasoning. Something can be considered rational if it is done voluntarily and intentionally, if it is consistent with one’s beliefs and intentions, and they must not be subject to change (Wittwer, 2013).
Ethics
There are, as with any sensitive topics in society, two very strong sides to an issue. At first glance, when talking about people who are suffering and lookin...


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...e are many ethical implications of PAS, most of which are in regards to patient’s autonomy and rationality, and the possible implications of PAS on other people. Also taken into account are the possibilities of abuse that come along with giving physicians power to prescribe lethal doses of medications to patients. With all arguments having validity, it can be seen that there is a lot that is unknown about the use of PAS. Most arguments, both for and against this form of assisted suicide, are based upon empirical arguments regarding rights and rationality of people in the United States. The states that do allow PAS to occur have specific guidelines as to how it is to be achieved, and those that do not allow PAS have strict policies regarding the criminality of the act. It is clear that, if PAS is to be allowed, there must be extremely well-defined boundaries.








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