Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

1138 WordsNov 9, 20115 Pages
Physician-Assisted Death: Killing or Caring? The debate of physician-assisted deaths has been going on in the United States sporadically for the past hundred years. Physician-assisted suicide is also referred to as euthanasia, which translates into “good death” in ancient Greek. In the recent discussion of PAS, a controversial issue has been whether PAS should be legalized or not. On the one hand, some argue that PAS or euthanasia should be legalized. From this perspective, the American Civil Liberties Union stated in its 1996 amicus brief in Vacco v. Quill that “the exercise of this right [right to die] is as central to personal autonomy and bodily integrity as rights safeguarded by this Court's decisions relating to marriage, family relationships, procreation, contraception, child rearing and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment” (2). On the contrary, however, others argue that PAS should remain illegal because it goes against our moral, ethical and religious beliefs. In the words of some of the main proponents, Foley and Herbert, “it threatens to add still another sad chapter to an already sorry human history of giving one person the liberty to take the life of another.” According to this view, it is presented as though PAS devaluates the human life. In sum, then, the issue is whether legalizing PAS would lessen the human life or end the suffering and pain of those on the verge of dying. Where this argument usually ends, however, is on the question of if legalizing PAS would affect the law and system of our society positively or negatively. Many doctors claim that there are many pros to physician-assisted deaths. Margaret P. Battin and Timothy E. Quill stated in their book Physician-Assisted Dying: The Case for Palliative Care & Patient Choice that physician-assisted suicide should be among the very few options available to patients

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