Legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

1424 words - 6 pages

In current society, legalizing physician assisted suicide is a prevalent argument. In 1997, the Supreme Court recognized no federal constitutional right to physician assisted suicide (Harned 1) , which defines suicide as one receiving help from a physician by means of a lethal dosage (Pearson 1), leaving it up to state legislatures to legalize such practice if desired. Only Oregon and Washington have since legalized physician assisted suicide. People seeking assisted suicide often experience slanted judgments and are generally not mentally healthy. Legalization of this practice would enable people to fall victim to coercion by friends and family to commit suicide. Also, asking for death is unfair to a doctor’s personal dogma. Some argue that society should honor the freedom of one’s choice to take his own life with the assistance of a physician; however, given the reasoning provided, it is in society’s best interest that physician assisted suicide remain illegal. Physician assisted suicide should not be legalized because suicidal people experience distorted judgments resulting in not being mentally equipped to make such a decision, people who feel they are a burden to their family may choose death as a result, and physicians should not have to go against their personal doctrines and promises.
One reason physician assisted suicide should not be legalized is that the suicidal person often has a mental disorder and therefore experiences distorted judgments. Most, if not all, of suicidal people suffer from depression (Harned 514). Victims of depression experience extreme emotional hardships and this, as a result, alters simple cognition and leads to self-blame which ultimately has a negative effect on ones self-esteem (Balch and O’Bannon 2). Suicidal people are really hard on themselves. When they reflect on their lives, they see no hope and operate in ‘all or nothing’ terms. What some may consider a minor setback, suicidal people see a another reason to take a drastic measure in hopes to mend their troubles. People who are suicidal are usually not mentally healthy. Multiple different studies have found shockingly similar results from their research. “Studies have indicated that 93-94% of those committing suicide suffer from some identifiable mental disorder” (Balch and O’Bannon 2). Mental disorders alter one’s way of thinking tremendously; their judgment of their conditions is exaggerated. Mental disorders can be treated with psychological counseling. Physician assisted suicide would provide an ‘easy way out’, taking away one’s opportunity to get help and have a second chance at life. Suicidal people should be denied aid in dying and referred to a psychiatric for psychological consulting in order to take the steps to properly receive help for their mental complexity.
Another reason physician assisted suicide should not be legalized is that it would only encourage those who feel pressure from their families to commit suicide to give in...

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