This essay focuses on several of the most common arguments in favor of the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide - and rebuts them. The language is simple, or, as they say, in layman's terms so as to be easily understandable. The sources are from professional journals, internet websites, and news outlets.
The first common argument favoring euthanasia or assisted suicide is this: "Since euthanasia and assisted suicide take place anyway, isn't it better to legalize them so they'll be practiced under careful guidelines and so that doctors will have to report these activities?" That sounds good but it doesn't work. Physicians who do not follow the "guidelines" will not report and, even when a physician does report information, there is no way to know if it is accurate or complete. For example, the Oregon law requires the Oregon Health Division (OHD) to collect information and publish an annual statistical report about assisted suicide deaths.(Oregon) However, the law contains no penalties for health care providers who fail to report information to the OHD. Moreover, the OHD has no regulatory authority or resources to ensure submission of information to its office.(Prager) Thus, all information contained in the OHD's official reports is that which has been provided by the physicians who prescribed the lethal drugs and only that which the physicians choose to provide.
The OHD even admitted that reporting physicians may have fabricated their versions of the circumstances surrounding the prescriptions written for patients. "For that matter, the entire account could have been a cock-and-bull story. We assume, however, that physicians wer...
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...19, conducted by Hebert Research, October 31, 1991, and within one week following the November 5, 1991 vote. Five days before the vote only 9.7 percent of those opposing the measure cited religious reasons for their opposition. Following the measure's defeat, individuals who had previously indicated support for Initiative 119 were again surveyed. Of these previous supporters, 15 percent subsequently opposed the initiative. Religious reasons accounted for only 6.1 percent of this eventual opposition.
Transcript from audio tape of "On Target," WVON Radio (Chicago). Debate between Rita Marker and T. Patrick Hill, September 26, 1993.
Van der Wal,G. P. J. van der Maas, J. M. Bosma, et al., "Evaluation of the notification procedure for physician-assisted deaths in the Netherlands," 335 New England Journal of Medicine (November 28, 1996), p. 1706.
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