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Mapping The Issue: Assisted Suicide Essay

1633 words - 7 pages

The issue of physician assisted suicide has been around for quite a while. There has been many court cases on it to make it legalized but all of it has been struck down by the Supreme Court. What seem to be a lost cause in the past is now becoming a real possibility as America moves further into the twenty-first century. As citizens increase their support for PAS, many states are beginning to draft bills to legalize this cause, with tough restriction and regulation of course. In 1997, Oregon became the first state to legalized physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Soon after, three other states (Washington, Vermont, and Montana) follow Oregon’s footstep while two other states ...view middle of the document...

Many Americans against PAS defend their arguments through the advancement of technology and medicine. In Matt Hanafin’s article “Mercy or Murder: A Case Against Assisted Suicide,” he argues that many doctors are uninformed on how to treat pain. He states “ The problem is that there are too many medical providers who have not acquired the information on advanced pain management” (Hanafin 1). Due to this mishap, many patients are suffering, believing that suicide is the only way out of their misery when in fact it can be fix. Hanafin also linked a study of terminally ill patients who would commit suicide if PAS was legalized towards depression. In this study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, it found that of the 24% that “claimed they would commit suicide if doctor-prescribed suicide was legalized, all of them suffered from clinical depression” (Hanafin 1). Because of this, it causes them to think irrational thoughts and conduct weird behaviors which includes the need of wanting to end their life. He then conclude that if PAS were to be legalized, then there would be many lives that would died when it could have been saved and fix.
Another position within this debate is the stance that Physician Assisted Suicide should be legalize for everyone and not be restricted on a health bases . The main reason for this position is due to the belief that each individual have the right to dictate their own destiny. The reason for this cause is due to the belief that was carved into the U.S constitution; that everyone has the right of choices. Even so, many proponents of this position believe their should be a convincible reason to allow that said person to go through with it. For example, if your reason to get PAS is a selfish reason, such as a divorce or feeling of loneliness, then you would be rejected. Only selfless acts like dying with your ill spouse should be granted.
Jacob Appel’s article “Next: Assisted Suicide for Healthy People,” makes a strong case for the legality of PAS for the healthy. He uses the example of George Coumbias and his wife Betty to make his point. Mr. Coumbias suffers from a cardiac disease while his wife is perfectly healthy. The thing is, both want to go through with assisted suicide with each other, which raises the concern if PAS should extend towards healthy individual. Though it is perfectly legal in Switzerland, it is not in the United States. Appel believes that it should be legal for everyone because “Personal autonomy has long served as the core principle of both American medical ethics and liberal democracy” (Appel 1). In his word he believe that since Betty is healthy she should not “have any less control to dictate her own life then someone whose life is degenerating” (1). He also classify Betty’s case as a selfless reason to undergo PAS which, in their viewpoint, should be granted.
Even with the contrast between both position, both side believe they have the interest of patient that would want...

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