Essay PreviewMore ↓
Even the state's claim to leadership in pain control and end-of-life care has received a blow. In a survey conducted by Oregon Health Sciences University, 34 percent of Oregon families say their loved one was in moderate or severe pain during the last week of life. The authors of the study, titled "The Oregon Report Card: Improving the Care of the Dying," found that the state's leadership in medical use of morphine has not translated into ideal control of pain and other symptoms in many cases [The Oregonian, 6/30/99].
Numerous US studies have established that the Americans most directly affected by the issue of physician-assisted suicide -- those who are frail, elderly and suffering from terminal illness -- are also more opposed to legalizing the practice than others are:
* A poll conducted for the Washington Post on March 22-26, 1996, found 50% support for legalizing physician-assisted suicide (Washington A18) Voters aged 35-44 supported legalization, 57% to 33%. But these figures reversed for voters aged 65 and older, who opposed legalization 54% to 38%. Majority opposition was also found among those with incomes under $15,000 (54%), and black Americans (70%).
* An August 1993 Roper poll funded by the Hemlock Society and other euthanasia supporters indicated that voters aged 18-29 supported "physician-aided suicide" 47% to 35%; voters aged 60 and older opposed it 45% to 35%. Hemlock's newsletter commented that "the younger the person, the more likely he or she is to favor this legislation.
How to Cite this Page
"Assisted Suicide Around the US." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Aug 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The topic of euthanasia and assisted suicide is very controversial. People who support euthanasia say that it is someone 's right to end their own life in the case of a terminal illness. Those in favor of this right consider the quality of life of the people suffering and say it is their life and, therefore, it is their decision. The people against euthanasia argue that the laws are in place to protect people from corrupt doctors. Some of the people who disagree with assisted suicide come from a religious background and say that it is against God’s plan to end one 's life.... [tags: Euthanasia, Death, Suicide, Assisted suicide]
1117 words (3.2 pages)
- Assisted suicide is a controversial topic of debate. Laws against assisted suicide are beginning to weaken, although ethical questions will always exist. Most opposition of euthanasia comes from religious groups, including Judaism and Christianity. Although assisted death is opposed by these religions and others, it is favored not only by the individual person, but by our court system as well. In 1994 voters in the state of Oregon passed an initiative to allow doctors, at the request of a capable and terminally ill patient, to prescribe medication for the purpose of ending the persons own life.... [tags: Suicide, Death, Euthanasia, Assisted suicide]
1613 words (4.6 pages)
- Assisted Suicide and the Right to Die The basic dilemma surrounding the subject of assisted suicide is who has the right to choose when someone dies. There are many layers of questions and varying opinions surrounding this right. How can our own self-determination be considered morally wrong when taken in the context of the opinion of others. In a society that stresses individual freedoms why is it that Congress continues to hinder doctor-assisted suicide (Keminer, 2000, p. 8). First some terms require clarification.... [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
2296 words (6.6 pages)
- You’re visiting the hospice for the twenty-third day in a row; the soft squeaking of the linoleum and the gentle buzz of the fluorescents in the waiting room greet you as you walk in. You’re visiting your Grandmother, whose lung cancer has entered metastasis, and has been slowly spreading throughout her body; she has already lost movement in her arms. She is a hollow shell of the woman she once was; her once bright eyes have been fading steadily every day, and her bubbly demeanor has become crushed and gravelly, and every day before you leave, she will only say, “Kill me.” What would you do in this situation.... [tags: Assisted Suicide]
927 words (2.6 pages)
- Assisted Suicide is Wrong A Saskatchewan farmer, Robert Latimer, was sentenced to life in prison last year for the 1993 second-degree murder of his severely disabled daughter, Tracy. He asphyxiated her with exhaust from his pick-up (Heinrich). Assisted Suicide is somewhat related to Euthanasia. The word Euthanasia comes from the Greek language: eu meaning "good" and thanatos meaning "death". The meaning of the word has evolved from "good death" . It now refers to the act of ending a person's life, at their request.... [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
1128 words (3.2 pages)
- Euthanasia: It Is Not Murder, It Is Mercy Thesis Statement: Thousands of people in the United States alone die every year from terminal illness such as cancer, ALS and AIDS. Advanced Medical technology is responsible for keeping many of them alive - many against their wishes. In the United States, euthanasia (assisted suicide) is illegal in all but one state. Many patients are forced to suffer needlessly when there is another alternative. According to a new Time/CNN poll 7 out of 10 American's say that they want to die at home; instead three-fourths die in medical institutions" (Cloud 59).... [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
1668 words (4.8 pages)
- The AMA and Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide The American Medical Association (AMA) has long been known for its strong views. As the issue of euthanasia, particularly doctor-assisted suicide, has come to the forefront, the AMA has taken a strong position on this controversial subject also. This time the AMA has taken a firm stand for preserving, not terminating, the life of the elderly/handicapped/depressed/mentally ill, etc. patient. This essay will explain in detail the stand of this influential group of doctors.... [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
900 words (2.6 pages)
- Dr. Jack Kevorkian was sentenced fifteen to twenty years in jail for a second degree murder charge. There is no doubt that Dr. Kevorkian injected lethal drugs into Thomas Youk, killing him within minutes. But was the murder committed as an act of rage? No, it was done as an act of kindness. For the past ten years, Dr. Kevorkian has been performing assisted suicides. In that time, Kevorkian claims to have eased the suffering of 130 patients. He has also been fighting to legalize euthanasia. There are some people that support Kevorkian’s views of euthanasia, yet there are still many people that think that what Kevorkian is doing is wrong.... [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
1084 words (3.1 pages)
- Euthanasia: No Human Life Should End by Unnatural Means Euthanasia, the medical term for assisted suicide or mercy killing, is an issue still being debated almost a hundred years after a proposal to legalize it in Ohio. The medical community was in turmoil even before its legal proposition, unable to decide amongst themselves how to deal with the issue. The same arguments still rage today, though the public is more aware of the issue thanks to high-profile court cases, like the trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian.... [tags: Physician Assisted Suicide Essays]
884 words (2.5 pages)
- Why Euthanasia. Why Now. Americans wonder why the big push for legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide. After thousands of years of considering such practices sinful and illegal, why the vocal effort at changing policy. This paper will look closely at how and why the new pro-euthanasia/assisted suicide attitude is sweeping around the world. The 89 year old woman died of dehydration starvation after six days without food and fluids, despite evidence that she had repeatedly asked for water.... [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
1174 words (3.4 pages)
- Euthanasia Essay - Concerns About Euthanasia
- Use of Metaphor, Symbols and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby
- Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Debate Continues
- Surveys on End of Life, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide
- Free Essays on Euthanasia: Assisted Suicide Violates the Physicians' Oath
- The Oppression of Fat People in America
* Researchers at Duke University recently surveyed hundreds of frail elderly patients receiving outpatient treatment and their families. The elderly patients themselves strongly opposed physician-assisted suicide: only 34% favored legalization, with support even lower among female and black patients. But 56% of their younger relatives favored it, and they were usually wrong in predicting the elderly patients' views. (Koenig)
And how about legalized euthanasia in Oregon? The 2001 report from the Oregon Health Division on legally permitted physician-assisted suicides in 2000 provides no information on abuses of the state's guidelines, and is not designed to do so. The 27 assisted suicides reported for this third year of Oregon's "experiment" in lethal medicine are simply those cases which the physicians themselves chose to report. The total number of actual cases, not to mention the number of times various "safeguards" were ignored, remains concealed in the name of physician-patient confidentiality.
However, even the data released by physicians who assist suicides are disturbing. Twenty-seven Oregonians died last year from lethal overdoses of controlled substances deliberately prescribed by physicians, who invoked prescribing privileges granted to them by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The most significant changes compared to the previous year are as follows:
* A startling 63% of these patients (compared to 26% in 1999) cited fear of being a "burden on family, friends or caregivers" as a reason for their suicide. Some patients and families are learning all too well the deeper message of Oregon's law: terminally ill patients have received this special "right" to state-approved suicide not because they are special in any positive way, but because they are seen as special burdens upon the rest of us.
* 30% cited concern about "inadequate pain control" as a reason for their death (compared to 26% the year before), despite claims by the Oregon law's defenders that legalizing assisted suicide would improve pain control and eliminate such concerns.
* Also rising is the percentage of victims who were married (67%, up from 44%) and who were female (56%, up from 41%). It seems some older married women in Oregon are receiving the message that they are a "burden" on their husbands, and then acquiescing in assisted suicide.
* Despite a medical consensus that the vast majority of suicidal wishes among the sick and elderly are due to treatable depression, in only 19% of these cases (compared to 37% the previous year) did the doctor bother to refer the patient for a psychological evaluation.
The Supreme Court has been involved only to a limited extent with assisted suicide. The Court upheld two state laws absolutely prohibiting assisted suicide, stating that Washington state's law does not violate constitutional guarantees of "liberty" (Washington v. Glucksberg) and that New York's similar law does not violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection (Vacco v. Quill). Oregon's law selectively permitting assisted suicide for certain patients had been found by one federal district court to violate equal protection; that ruling was not before the Supreme Court (Lee). As Chief Justice Rehnquist said in his majority opinion in Glucksberg: "Lee, of course, is not before us... and we offer no opinion as to the validity of the Lee courts' reasoning. In Vacco v. Quill..., however, decided today, we hold that New York's assisted-suicide ban does not violate the Equal Protection clause" (Washington). To this day no appellate court in the country has ruled on the constitutionality of a law like Oregon's.
The Court also said nothing about assigning this issue to state as opposed to federal jurisdiction. In reviewing the Nation's longstanding tradition against assisted suicide, it cited federal enactments such as the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 alongside state laws. Illustrating the government's interest in protecting terminally ill patients, the Court favorably cited an earlier decision upholding the federal Food and Drug Administration's authority "to protect the terminally ill, no less than other patients," from life-endangering drugs (Ibid. 2272).
What the Court did rule is that laws prohibiting assisted suicide (whether state or federal) are constitutionally valid and serve several important and legitimate interests.
Emanuel, Dr. Ezekiel et al.. "Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: attitudes and experiences of oncology patients, oncologists, and the public." 347 The Lancet 1805 (June 29, 1996):1809
Humphry, Derek. "What's in a word?" Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization 1993, Table 1-A.
Koenig, Dr. Harold et al.. "Attitudes of Elderly Patients and their Families Toward Physician-Assisted Suicide." 156 Archives of Internal Medicine 2240 (Oct. 28, 1996)
Lee v. Oregon, 891 F.Supp. 1429 (D. Or. 1995), vacated on other grounds, 107 F.3d 1382 (9th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 118 S. Ct. 328 (1997).
"Poll Shows More Would Support Law Using Gentler Language," TimeLines (Jan.-Feb. 1994):9
Washington v. Glucksberg, 117 S. Ct. 2258, 2262 n. 7 (1997.
-- -- --. 117 S. Ct. at 2272, quoting United States v. Rutherford, 442 U.S. 544, 558. 1979.
Washington Post, April 4, 1996.