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Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

2091 words - 9 pages

Fergus Ingham

Assisted Suicide

A controversial human rights issue in modern society is the right to die, an issue that has much to do with the way that human beings relate to society at large, the notion that a man has ownership of their own body, and the obligations set forth in the Hippocratic oath and medical ethics. Physician assisted suicide, or the right to die as those in the pro-assisted suicide movement call it, divides two very different kinds of people into two camps. One’s opinion on the subject is entirely related to one’s core values. Whether one values the individual or whether one places more emphasis on the will of the majority has a great impact on one’s beliefs concerning the issue of the right to die. In this essay, I will prove that It is only logical that physician assisted suicide should be legalized and regulated.
An issue that comes up repeatedly in the culture war debates of our modern era, is whether or not people possess their own bodies and have the right to do what they will with them. There are those that want to regulate what one is capable of doing to their own vessel. And there are those who believe that human beings own their own body and may do what they will with them. People in the pro-right to die movement tend to be in the latter camp. This premise, that human beings own their own bodies, underlies the entire issue of assisted suicide, as well as many other controversial topics in society today (ERGO). Until society at large accepts that people may do what they will with their own bodies, victimless crimes will always be cause for prosecution.
Even if people outside the movement cannot accept the notion that individuals are in possession of their own being at all times, they should be able accept that the suffering terminal patients undergo can be unbearable. Terminal patients with illnesses like esophageal cancer, which prevents them from eating without horrible pain and regurgitating the nourishment, or those with pulmonary edema or cases of lung cancer who are quite literally drowning in their own bodily fluids, are candidates for physician-assisted suicide. Most people should be able to accept that once they get to this point, these people have little to live for. Sometimes, those who are capable of communicating their desires, wish to pass on before the pain from their terminal disease starts to get too unbearable or they lose any sense of dignity they might have had. It is for the rights of those patients, that people within the assisted suicide movement are fighting for (ERGO).
Only a small minority of people will ever experience illnesses that fall under the category of eligibility for assisted suicide. This is good, because these illnesses rob people of their lives and leave them in great suffering and without self-determinism or control over their state of being. The truth is most people will be able to go through life without ever having to deal with symptoms such as...

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