Proponents of legalizing medically-assisted suicide, or the Death by Dignity Act in the United States, often argue that it is a matter of empathy and compassion, whereas opponents of Death by Dignity claim that helping patients kill themselves violate the oath that doctors are sworn into when they are newly admitted. Simply put, the debate itself is a matter of a patient’s wishes versus ethical consequences. While it is not an extremely high-profile topic that is as controversial as the death penalty, abortion, or gun control, medically-assisted suicide still poses a very fragile and polarizing debate in which it can not necessarily satisfy both sides of the issue.
If you knew a loved one who was suffering from a terminal illness, would you allow them to take a life-ending pill in order to permanently relieve them of their pain, or attempt to alleviate their agony through other means? What if their condition extended beyond physical pain, such as drastic mental, psychological, and emotional changes as well? ...
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...y have more at stake than merely physical pain, such as that of Maynard’s case. As quoted shortly before her passing, “...Now that I 've had the prescription filled and it 's in my possession, I have experienced a tremendous sense of relief. And if I decide to change my mind about taking the medication, I will not take it.”
If both supporters and opposers work to establish standards and qualifications of euthanasia and distinguish its objective standpoints (for example, laws and regulations) from subjective ones (such as morals), thereby achieving clarity and compromise, then perhaps there will be a viable solution that satisfies both supporters and opposers without violating medical ethics or patients’ rights. In the meantime, the debate of whether or not to legalize euthanasia—unlike gun control and abortion—is still a relatively new and rarely-experienced issue.
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