There are numerous arguments with respect to the issue of suicide or the taking of one’s own life, both pro and con. In my opinion, provided that a person is of sound mind and free from undue stress and/or influence, I believe that they should be able to make a conscious decision as to whether they wish to proceed living or not. As you might imagine, this is a highly controversial vantage point, but to me, no more so that allowing others to decide our fates for us. Physician assisted suicide or death is a perfect example of the course of action that I believe should be allowable.This viewpoint clearly does not work under the virtue ethics construct, as it finds that both the person being killed (or assisted in death) and the one doing the killing (or assisting) to be wrong. One who follows virtue ethics would say that killing yourself or helping someone else to kill themselves I just plain wrong. This however, does not sit well with me in terms of argument. It makes no sense to put control of our lives in the hands of another human being.
People who feel otherwise believe that suicide is criminal and that this decision should rest in God’s hands. Egoists however, believe, as I do, that man should do what is best for himself (provided that he is of sound mind) (Lecture 2015). After all, living wills provide a basis for forms of assisted euthanasia, though some doctors will argue that life should be prolonged regardless of the patient’s wishes (Lecture 2015). In the case of voluntary, physician assisted death, one can wonder about the effect, or consequences of such assistance, regardless of whether death occurs (Krasemann et al., 2009).
For me, the most sensible choice is in favor of an ethical construct that respects a person’s choice as to effectuating or accelerating their own death. There are two prime principles at play in this argument: a) the autonomy of liberty of a patient, and b) the duty of a physician to provide relief from suffering (Ball et al., 2012). Constitutional due process allows an individual the right to make their own choices. Physician assisted death comports with such choices, where it enables a person to die with dignity and to have their pain and suffering alleviated (Ball et al., 2012).
While opponents of this view, including many doctors and clergy, may argue that this is actually not a fundamental right, and that the societal need to sanctify human life should prevail, to me the evidence, the law and my ethical construct suggest otherwise. At this juncture, assisted suicide is legal in several states, including Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California (Patient’s Rights Council 2015). In the end, what should matter most is that the decision to end one’s life (the action) causes the person to be happy with notion that his suffering and pain will be coming to an end. This defines the moral value of this action. As long as the person knows of all their options and alternatives, the choice should be belong to them, in terms of whether to end suffering and pain or not.
Choice is an important factor. Why should a person have the prerogative to end their own suffering and pain. As society it is perfectly acceptable for us to take an aging animal to the vet and have them out to sleep. Why should someone who is enduring unbearable pain and daily suffering, with no relief in sight, be forced to keep living for the sake of anyone other than themselves.
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