Physician assisted suicide Book Report

This essay has a total of 1004 words and 4 pages.

Physician assisted suicide

Is Physician-Assisted Suicide A Solution ?

Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is a very important issue. It is also important
tounderstand the terms and distinction between the varying degrees to which a person can
be involved in hastening the death of a terminally ill individual. Euthanasia, a word that
is often associated with physician assisted suicide, means the act or practice of killing
for reasons of mercy. Assisted suicide takes place when a dying person who wishes to
precipitate death, requests help in carrying out the act. In euthanasia, the dying
patients may or may not be aware of what is happening to them and may or may not have
requested to die. In an assisted suicide, the terminally ill person wants to die and has
specifically asked for help. Physician-assisted suicide occurs when the individual
assisting in the suicide is a doctor rather than a friend or family member. Because
doctors are the people most familiar with their patients' medical condition and have
knowledge of and access to the necessary means to cause certain death, terminally ill
patients who have made

the decision to end their lives often turn to their physicians for advice. However,
studies indicate that many physicians are unwilling to provide their assistance in suicide
because it conflicts with their ethical beliefs and because it is illegal. The
legalization of PAS is a sensitive, yet complicated, topic which is becoming more and more
popular with America's aging population and the terminally ill patients. PAS is a social
issue which is here to stay. The legalization of PAS is continually being debated all over
the United States and offers a potential for abuse. In 1994, PAS laws of Washington and
New York were challenged in federal court and declared unconstitutional. Physician
assisted suicide should not be legalized in any state.


As society must understand, PAS is challenged for several reasons.
First of all, the "Right-To-Die" group and the Hemlock Society contend that terminally ill
individuals have the right to end their own lives in some instances, and because PAS is
illegal, many patients are unable to get the help necessary to terminate their lives and
must involuntarily endure the extreme pain and suffering of their diseases. Others argue
that PAS must be legalized for purposes of regulation. They contend that in spite of
current law, the practice is conducted regularly in secrecy, therefore the potential for
abuse already exists. Legalization with medical record documentation and reporting
requirements will enable authorities to regulate the practice and guard against abuses
while punishing the real offenders. Also, supporters strongly suggest that laws banning
PAS do not save lives, but rather, they cruelly prolong deaths. Despite the reasons which
lead some to believe PAS should be a viable alternative, it should not be legalized.

First of all, one reason to oppose the legalization of PAS laws is that it is morally
wrong. No person has the right to assist in the taking of other's lives. Only God has the
power for terminating human life. Therefore, those who believe in God know that they must
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