Assisted suicide and euthanasia is an important ethical dilemma our society is faced with. The legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia is not appropriate for many reasons, and it is unethical for physicians to assist in such act. Only God has the power to take a human life when it is their time to die. Many solutions can be put in place to assist people with their end of life needs rather than help them end their life.
Assisted suicide, unlike euthanasia, permits the individual to choose when he or she would like to die with the help of another person. The other person can be a medical professional with medical equipment, or a loved one who has researched and procured the necessary items to end life. Active events occur when one person delibertly intervenes such as injecting sedatives whereas passive events involves the withdrawl or withholding or something the patient needs to sustain life such as withholding antibiotics .
Many people are affected by assisted suicide and only very few will benefit. Health maintence organizations, which are driven by profits, will make assisted suicide a money making event. Assited suicide will also build fear, prejudice, and bias against those who are disabled or unhealthy. Undiagnosed depression will drive requrests for suicides, preventing the potential for improving mental health. Any safeguards which have been suggested are only illusionary. Even proposals which are narrow and provide for controls will eventually expand over time. Assisted suicide is simply wrong for our communities .
While some people want to be able to choose their own death through assisted suicide, there are plenty of legal alternatives that make the need for unethical procedures to take place. Every U.S. state has laws making it legal for a person to develop an advance directive for the withdrawal of treatment under the conditions the individual wants. It is also legal for someone to refuse treatment or deem it be stopped. It is legal to obtain enough painkillers to be comfortable, even if they bring on death. And if someone is about to die is in significantly uncomfortable, it is legal for them to be sedated to the point when discomfort is released. There are plenty of legal actions already in place to release any pain and suffering that those who would request assisted suicide would have .
Utility theory is one that can easily be applied to the opposition of legalization of assisted suicide. Utilitarianism is an easy theory to understand and its outcomes are easy to apply, especially in this circumstance. The theory indicates that there are degrees of right and wrong, and for every situation that it is applied to the appropriate choice is easily chosen; which action will produce an outcome which is better for the greater good. When it is applied to assisted suicide, will the death or the continuation of life be better for the overall community? Mitchell describes “I cannot imagine rule utilitarianism supporting suicide (“Kill yourself if the fancy strikes”); rather, rule utilitarianism would set limits, create a prohibition (“It is wrong to take your own life”)”. There is no situation where suicide, assisted or otherwise, is good for people overall even if one person no longer is suffering. Instead, utilizing the options, such as personal choice to withdraw from treatment, will be more ethical and moral for the greater good .
Assisted suicide is unethical and should not be allowed to be legalized. It will harm many differnet commnunities, such as the disabled by creating a bias and prejudice against them. It will make it too easy for those who are depressed to end their lives. There are already plenty of other legal options available to reduce suffering. Assited suicide should not be legal.
- Golden, M. (n.d.). Why Assisted Suicide Must Not Be Legalized. Retrieved from Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund: http://dredf.org/assisted_suicide/assistedsuicide.html
- Mitchell, J. (2007). Understanding Assisted Suicide: Nine Issues to Consider. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.
- National Health Service. (2014, November 8). Euthanasia and assisted suicide . Retrieved from NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Euthanasiaandassistedsuicide/Pages/Introduction.aspx