Argument Against Kendra's Law

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KENDRA'S LAW by Michele Hull RN (1738 words) Bioethics Professor Lisa Cassidy 5/24/2010 One of the most prevalent problems in treating the mentally ill today is treatment noncompliance and access to care. Kendra’s Law, instituted in New York in 2000, is a utilitarian approach providing a measure of safety and security to society by sacrificing an individual’s rights to refuse care. In this paper I will argue that Kendra’s Law should be made permanent in New York and instituted on a national level. Kendra Webdale was thirty-two years old when an untreated man with schizophrenia pushed her to her death in front of an oncoming train in a New York City subway in 1999. According to Worthington the perpetrator was one of…show more content…
So how do we justify denying an individual’s rights to refuse treatment? We justify it by balancing that individual’s rights against the rights of the community to be safe and secure. According to Mill, “The amount of regard for the public interest is no greater than is demanded by every system of morals, for they all enjoin to abstain from whatever is manifestly pernicious to society” (Mill 1863). Violence, both potential and actual has a pernicious effect on society. We know from experience that many of the mentally ill, when not treated, pose a danger to themselves or others. Examples of this danger to others can be seen in the following mentally-ill individuals: Andrew Goldstein, the untreated schizophrenic man who pushed Kendra to her death in 1999; John Patrick Bedell who opened fire at the entrance of the Pentagon wounding several officers, before he was killed by returning gunfire; Seung Hui Cho, the gunman responsible for the deaths of 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech (Jenkins…show more content…
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