Physician assisted suicide, also known as right to die has become a hot button issue within the last twenty years. The reason behind the interest is because in the “land of the free” known as America, that promotes independence and personal rights; it seems quite regressive to many to deny a person their right to die. After the 1997 Supreme Court decision which declined to nationally recognize assisted suicide, Chief Justice William Rehquist stated this issue best when he said we are “engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality and practicality of physician assisted suicide as it should in a democratic society”(Karim Paragraph 10). Cut to 2014 and over ten years later this issue has gained more momentum than ever, specifically in California after the California Compassionate Choices Act following the passing and implementation of The Dignity Act in Oregon (Tucker 1611). The benefits of assisted suicide include an end in suffering for patients while saving their family from future debt and allowing their organs and the energy used to keep them alive to save others who can live a complete and healthy life. There is some personal and moral opposition to physician assisted suicide nationally, but the positives outweigh the negatives and California should take further steps in aiding and providing options for those dying.
The main, if not most beneficial, aspect of physician assisted suicide is that the pain and suffering surrounding the final months and days of a person’s life can be prevented by their choice alone. Look at this on a simpler level, the modern day family portrait often includes a pet whether it is a cat, a dog or something uncommon and these animals get treated like another member of the family. For example when a dog gets sick most families take their pet to the veterinarian and follow the recommended protocol, however when something incurable comes up like cancer the dog is often put to sleep. A human being and a pet are not necessarily equal but the bottom line is that when a pet is put to sleep it is to prevent further pain and suffering, so this mentality should be carried over for people. There is no doubt that people do experience pain in their final days, the SUPPORT Study conducted in Oregon, found that “Fifty percent of conscious patients who died in the hospital experienced moderate to severe pain in the last three days of life”(Steinbock 235). Looking at this information it can be seen as cruel to keep a terminally ill person in pain and misery against their wishes when death is undeniably going to occur in the near future.
Autonomy is synonymous with independence and is often brought up as a major pro for assisted suicide for two reasons, the first being that those terminally ill want to keep their autonomy and not depend on anyone else in their final days. In the article titled “Assisted Suicide” by Reed Karaim, the reader gets an inside look at a man named Lee Johnson...