Issues in Law and Justice 30 Jan. 2013 Legal Issues of Pro Euthanasia Pro euthanasia is a subject that has been debated worldwide for a very long time with very little success. This practice has been argued as far back as Ancient Greece and Rome; where Socrates employed hemlock as a means of hastening death but was criticizes by Hippocrates and others at that time. Prominent Americans have argued for permitting suicide in cases of chronic illness since 1913 concerning issues of political and social ethics. I think that the quality of life and one’s dignity is the main issue here and should not be interfered with by government. If a person is suffering in unbearable pain and cannot enjoy life then euthanasia would be the best option to help that person die a dignified and peaceful death, rather than a period of lost dignity and prolonged suffering.
Eventually some people and their families might be forced to put financial concerns above the needs of a loved one. Doctors or insurance companies could try to convince some people to opt for assisted suicide rather than the more expensive treatment. This would be an injustice to all humankind. A history professor at San Francisco State University argued that assisted suicide would lead to inequities and would not be limited to those with a terminal illness. “Given the way the U.S. healthcare system is getting increasingly unjust and even savage, I don't think this system could be trusted to implement such a system equitably, or confine it to people who are immediately terminally ill"(Mohler).
However, there are many pros and cons to each side of the argument. Physician-assisted suicide is unethical based on the Hippocratic Oath, but is ethical based on the patient’s views – which sometimes outweigh the morals of a physician. Physician-assisted suicide first became an issue when our society decided that it was neither moral nor ethical for a physician to help end a terminally ill patient’s life. According to Katie Pickert, Dr. Jack Kevorkian brought lots of attention to the topic during the “epic assisted suicide battle of the 1990s” (1). People who argue with Kevorkian for physician-assisted suicide feel that by helping a patient end his or her life peacefully is helpful to family and friends.
Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal? Dion O. Hales SOC120 Introduction to Ethics and Social Responsibility Prof. Theodore Framan June 22, 2012 Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal? While killing yourself is harder than having someone do it for you is that killing yourself requires firmer resolve, Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal? Because a patient's last will and last testament should be honored, a competent patient's request to terminate life-sustaining treatment, and it is our moral right to prevent a person from suffering if they suffer from a disease we cannot cure. First, Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal?
The Dangers of Assisted Suicide “Advocates of physician assisted suicide try to convey the impression that in terminally ill patients the wish to die is totally different from suicidal intent in those without terminal illness” (Herbert and Klerman 118.) Physician assisted suicide is when a physician assists their patient in dying upon their request. In some states there are laws giving limitations to who can request such a “procedure,“ but these laws are not enough to prevent the dangers of assisted suicide. Assisted suicide should be illegal in all fifty states because it is immoral, dangerous to society, and can lead to the deaths of millions of depressed people. “Critics of physician assisted suicide believe that doctors like Jack Kevorkian are doing nothing less than playing God“ (Gay 47.)
For others who are more incapacitated, PAS could involve setting up a mechanism whereby the patient merely has to 'press a button' to receive a lethal injection. Physician assisted suicide clearly has consequences for another person since it requires involvement of another. The issue of whether human beings and more pointedly, doctors have the right to help others die has been in the public disagreement for a very long time. The Hippocratic Oath, which was estimated to be written in the fourth century B.C., includes the statement “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I
After much deliberation ultimately the Supreme Court unanimously voted 9-0 that euthanasia in fact did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Although patients are able to refuse lifesaving treatment, the Court held that there is a clear difference between treatment refusal and criminal intent and that the states have the authority to determine the constitutionality of physician assisted suicide, not the federal government. Physician assisted suicide is when a doctor or a trained medical professional assists, in the form of “information, guidance”, or action, someone to kill themselves (National Right to Life Association). Many terminally ill patients rely on doctors when suffering has reached their limit, cognizant of their powerful drugs and medication that will make dying easier. The main constitutional issue within Vacco v. Quill involves the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment, which states that no state can deny any persons “equal protection of the laws”.
Physician assisted suicide should be a right given to all people who are suffering from a painful, degenerative, or deadly condition. Anyone who might never enjoy the luxuries of living a happy and healthy life again. Though several ongoing debates are against physician-assisted suicide, ethicists are still not the one who is responsible to make this decision. Patients have the right to free will and human dignity that gives them the right to choose physician assisted suicide. Being able to have this choice allows the patient to maintain some control over their devastating situation.
Although euthanasia to some may seem as a form of murder, it should not be considered murder as it is done in for the alleged benefit of the human being. Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless matter for people who are suffering a terminal illness. Murder on the other hand is the unlawful killing of a human being with a desire to inflict pain, suffering, or death out of impulse or for no reason at all. For some people euthanasia is considered to be morally wrong, but that all depends on a persons personal beliefs but it is not the same as murder as it takes into consideration the person who is suffering and is done with their consent or their families. There are many different forms of euthanasia and because of these different forms, euthanasia has caused many controversies.
Furthermore, euthanasia is unnecessary in the presence of palliated care. Palliated care ensures proper and intensive care of patients. It seems like a better option of dealing with the illnesses of patients as compared to losing complete hope on recovery and life. Euthanasia is a quick, painless end to life; whereas palliated care is one that can relieve pain. Executing euthanasia undermines the commitment of doctors and nurses, defeating doctors’ and nurses’ purposes of saving lives.