Assisted Suicide: Murder or Mercy?
Physician assisted suicide is becoming a larger issue in our society. More people are learning about it, and that is creating more controversy. Oregon passed their Death with Dignity Act on November 8, 1994. A court battle took place in 1997 to repeal the law, but it failed. The law came into full effect in November 1997. There's a problem with this law, though. The laws in place to protect its patients from abuse are shaky. Even though legal physician assisted suicide will be hard to control, if it is handled properly, it should be legalized (Oregon Right to Life).
There are different types of suicide recognized in the United States. “Regular” suicide is the most well-known. “Regular” suicide is when a person simply kills himself with no outside help. Assisted suicide is when a person kills themselves with the help of another person. This person is usually a doctor. This is the reason it is also known as physician assisted suicide. Another type of suicide is euthanasia. Euthanasia is kind of like assisted suicide, but the person who ends up dead isn't privy to the decision of their death. An example of euthanasia is lethal injection. Lethal injection is the same way we put down our dogs, and the same way people on death row die. The final form of suicide is passive euthanasia. When passive euthanasia is chosen, most people say they are “letting nature take its course.” This could be by stopping medication, taking someone off of a ventilator, or taking someone out of the hospital (Glover).
Two of the main types of suicide are very controversial. “Regular” suicide is not illegal. It is not smiled upon, but it only involves the person himself, so no one can punish them for it. You cannot prevent someone from committing suicide. The issue is whether it is morally justified to help someone with the task of suicide, or to make it legal to assist someone with the task of suicide (Glover). Oregon and Washington are the only two states to allow assisted suicide. Several other states have had votes on it, but they have all been turned down (Oregon Right to Life). Dr. Jack Kevorkian was a strong proponent of assisted suicide. He was eventually caught, tried, and convicted of second degree murder. His belief was, “Dying is not a crime.” (Fridstein) Most people believe that euthanasia is completely wrong. The person doesn't get to make the decision for himself; most people view euthanasia as murder. Passive euthanasia is the most accepted form of suicide. People don’t view taking a brain dead individual off of a ventilator as harshly as they view the other types of suicide. This is because they see it as letting “nature take its course.” “Death is a side effect of removing such treatment, and death is accepted, not intended.” (McManaman)
There are six major arguments against assisted suicide. The first is that it will lead to euthanasia. It is repeated over and over in history; if you give conscious people a right, you...