Humanity has the right to live, but not to die. This right to die is known as assisted suicide, which is currenty only legal in three American states. The practice of assisted suicide is allowing a qualified physician to aid the patient in prematurely ending their lives by giving them a lethal dose of drugs. As it is such a delicate matter, it’s quickly become a matter of debate for Americans. The debate then becomes a moral matter; is it ethically correct to end the life of another human being?
Are they mercy killers or death dealers? To begin with the controvery surrounding assisted suicide rests on the difference between letting someone die or helping someone die (Opposing Viewpoints). Americans, however, are unsure of whether or not to legalize this law for the fact that it can so easily be abused and manipulated. Opponents of this law give examples of how vulnerable the sick are, and how easily persuaded they can be to ending their lives in order to not become a “burden” (Hedburg). Similarly advocates of this law argue that these ill and usually elderly do not wish to become a burden on their families, but instead wish to die a dignified death before becoming “useless”.
This bill has fostered a myriad of opinions of life and death, and whether or not the goverment should legalize it or not. Although assisted suicide should not be legal for it can be abused and needlessly kills patients who still have a chance at life, assisted suicide should be legal for its an alternative to death. Therefore, assisted suicide should only be legal if the patient is terminally ill and completely consenting. Now while having this option may or may not be beneficial, there are, as previously stated, those who fear this law being abused.
This fear stems from the fact that human life is such a delicate matter to decide on; its quite literally a matter of life and death and opposers are afraid of lives being wrongly taken away. There are no safeguards that can ensure that there will not be abuse (Jackowski). There are no guarentees that every single patient will die a voluntary death, for they fear that “it would be disproportionately chosen by or forced on terminally ill patients who were poor, uneducated, uninsured, or fearful of the financial consequences of their illness. “
For instance based on the studied history there have been “more than 300 cases of reported abuse of the disabled/elderly ignored by the state. ” These are only the reported murders; No one can estimate how many murders go unreported. (Hedburg) Instead of helping these patients it pressures them into an early death. Similarly, instead of giving a citizen more rights this new law would infact take away a major right humanity has: the right to live. It “eliminates choice for the most vulnerable”, and as such the severe reprecussions will follow (Jackowski. ) Instead of giving an ill patient more choices, it pressures the terminally ill patient into ending their life.
Also, physican assisted suicide (in which the patient administers the legal dose) may evolve into voluntary euthanasia (in which the physician kills the patient), which in turn could evolve into nonvoluntary or even involuntary euthanasia (in which patients are killed without or against their will). This, as opponents of this bill feel, is a slippery slope towards the nation becoming a dystopia that murders its elderly. (Hedburg) Furthermore, many in the nation believe that instead of allowing these people to die, the nation should be helping them, alleviating the pain of death.
Terminally ill patients need advocates, for the ill and elderly look to assisted suicide as an easy way out to end their worries about expensive medical care or about becoming a burden to their families (Wolf). Opponents feel that instead of the legislative focusing on the bill, the goverment should instead focus on “how to improve life and death for all. ” Primarily by establishing universal health care available to all taxpayers.
Then by doing everything scientifically possible to eliminate suffering, doing everything possible so that patients don’t think killing themselves is the only way out. Most importantly, “all those at high risk must be protected. “
This can easily be done by setting up health care advocates, which if based on a system of honest and compassionate volunteers, will not cost the goverment a lot of money (Jackowski). Having effective health-care advocates is essential to protecting vulnerable patients and ensuring that end-of-life needs are anticipated and met so patients don’t feel their best or only option is assisted suicide However, while there are several ways assisted suicide go wrong there are also several benefits that patients will recieve from the legalization of this law. No one person wants to become another person’s burden, argue supporters of this bill.
These patients feel that they are a burden on their families and medical staff who have to take care of them. They don’t want to feel like a burden, and if they don’t get better they feel they’ll just continue being a burden until they die. Assisted suicide is a painless way (although not everyone agrees) to insure that patients are let go easily, and stop from becoming a vegetable lying in bed being taken of others.
The legal availability can become a security blanket, an emergency exit just in case their worst fears are realized (Kaveny). Moreso, instead of being listened to, these patients are belittled. Belittled and patronized by family members who insist that they are “good and okay and everything’s going to be just fine”. They need to have a choice if that’s what they’re looking for adovcates declare. Beverly Broadbent, for example, was a case that was followed. She argued that she’d rather “A peaceful dignified death death at a time of her own choosing
to years of physical deterioration and functional decline in a nursing home. ” She speaks out saying that her family was opposed to her wanting an assisted suicide, because she appeared to be healthy. However Broadbent in response said, “I look well and I walk so well people think I’m fine. But I have so many things wrong with me. The balance is gone. Its taking too much time for me to keep fit to enjoy myself that there’s not enough time to enjoy myself. ” Life no longer become enjoyable for Broadbent, and she felt that her family was being too selfish to let her go.
(Medew) Not everyone is going to take that choice, but it should be there nonetheless for those who choose it proponents of this bill assert. Correspondingly, many of the fears these terminally ill and elderly have is ending up writhing in pain in a hospital bed whille their loved ones watch. It take approximately five minutes to become unconsciousness, and then about 27 minnutes from ingestion to death. “No complications, such as vomiting or or seizures, were reported. ” (Hedburg) This allows for the dignified death so many wish for. Instead of suffering, and instead of making their family members watch as death painfully takes away their life, they get a quick and painless way out. They get to say goodbye to their loved ones and prepare themselves to dying.
This is an alternative that the goverment must legalize for the terminally ill. “Once its become a certaintity that the patient is going to die, why not allow them a painless escape? ” is the way crusaders of this bill justify the allowance of PAS as an accepted and legalized practice. Certainly what must happen in this situation is to legalize this assisted suicide bill in the entirety of the country.
While the consequences are grave indeed, ultimately this is about providing an alternative to death. There are the worries of spiraling into a slippery slope that results in the murder of unwilling patients, but with the proper monitoring there will be no deaths for unwilling patients. Assisted suicide would be strictly monitored, and doctors would be required to turn in a report for every patient that they have. This would compromise between the opponents and proponents of the bill, for its legal but extrremley monitored. As with most matters in life there is no strictly black and white in this scenario.