Should Assisted Suicide Be Legal
Introduction Assisted suicide is one of the most controversial issues that are usually discussed among people in the world on daily basis. Everyone comes up with his or her own suggestions concerning this controversial topic. This is a topic that is debated on social grounds and it above all else involves someone making a choice, whether to continue with life or give up the hope and die. This should be a choice that they make themselves.
Assisted Suicide is when a physician supplies the information and/or any means of committing suicide to patients. This can be in form of a prescription for a lethal dose of sleeping pills or in form of dangerous gases such as the supply of carbon monoxide gas. The ethical aspect of the participation of the physicians in suicide assistances is a complex issue in the controversial euthanasia debates. Those who oppose the practice highlight the tensions between the duties to preserve life and assisting death and sometimes put the relationship between patients and patients into a risk. On the other hand, other people perceive death assistance as a natural part of a humane response to pains and suffering and as a respect that is given the patient’s self choice. In this paper we will examine whether assisted suicide should be legalized and gives my stand on the matter.
Assisted suicide Firstly, assisted suicide is seen as philosophical. The right to death should be perceived as equally significant as other values which exist in the community. Generally speaking, many people have a belief that their right to life is an absolute value, and to live as long period of time is a very important thing in all circumstances. For them, life is treated as if it is a valuable thing and nobody has a legal right to violate it and choose death option until nature ends the life. However, life is not an ultimate value to others.
The weight of life always varies from one person to another. In other words, life is taken as a relative value and thus the right to death can be one of the options for the free citizens. I believe that patients who are undergoing any form of permanent torture of a certain disease may willingly prefer peaceful death as opposed to extended life. It doesn’t mean that every person who is suffering from terminal cancer or any other serious disease demands death. For instance, some patients wish to cut their lives short rather than to continue suffering from the illness. Due to these differences in values among the people, we are supposed to respect their choices.
Secondly, some terminally ill patients need to escape from the unbearable persistent pains they usually undergo. They are supposed to be helped by the governments in a practical sense so that they die with reasonable dignity. Under the status quo, some patients suffer from pain 24 hours a day and seven days a week. In the cases of terminal cancer, when cancer cells reach your bones, they continue to damage your bone tissues and cause throbbing pain. Painkillers sometimes work, yet they are not perfect.
Not all cancer patients can have their pain completely removed. Therefore, they continue suffering from the seriously aching diseases and they end up without the hope of regaining. In case the pains continue to persist, they get themselves in situations where they think that the only option is to wait for their death. Since they have no other helpful way in this kind of situations, their only preferable remedy is to choose death in which they believe to gain everlasting happiness about their life. Because of this reason, they should be allowed to pursue their joy by legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia. It is said conclusively that they do not find happiness in living for long time.
Instead the happiness is achieved when the physicians helps them to die in a peaceful manner. In the case where their life is terminated by means of injections, they escape the mental torture and the uneasy moments. They don’t have to lead painful life or keep on depending on clinical machines which support life but attain painless death and they gain everlasting happiness (Pretzer, M., 2000). Thirdly, poor quality life leads to a sufficient justification of assisted suicide or euthanasia practice.
Some patients may feel that they are burdens to others. This may be due to financial constraints a factor which makes patients not to raise the required hospital bills to enable him/her access the sufficient medical care. Also some patients do not access the important national health insurance covers which sometimes help people in supplementing their hospital bills. Also, palliative care is not able to address all the types of suffering and pain with the required success. In some cases, living with a very painful illness is reasonably seen as worse than death. Therefore, assisted suicide should be allowed if the palliative care is not effective.
It should be known that the epidemiology of suicide that has been legalized differs greatly from that of normal suicide and hence it is possible to allow assisted suicide without jeopardizing the efforts of the public health to prevent the latter. Even if other assisted suicide requests are cries for help, this cannot be always the case: an attempt to understand such kind of requests would be seen as hermeneutic obstinacy which is the same as therapeutic obstinacy that is found in the persistence with life sustaining treatment over the refusal of the patient. The assisted suicide may reassure other people who are healthy but think that they will suffer from terminal illness in the future and that it could be accompanied by nflexible suffering. In such a situation, the possibility of assisted suicide will reduce their fears and give them a short cut of escaping from their problematic situations (Norman, A, G. et al. 2010).
Fourthly, the practice of assisted suicide should be treated as other practices such as the use of tobacco and alcohol. In some liberal democratic states citizens are allowed to take these dangerous options as long as they are fully aware of the associated consequences which are always negative. Since people are allowed to take these risky choices, death should not treated as an exceptional because it is one of the options associated with the benefits of minimum risks. The slippery slope arguments about the practice are not justifiable because all practices that are considered controversial can be controlled and regulated. It is very surprising when people seem to abide by the laws that prohibit assisted suicide but they fail to abide by the laws that limit all the circumstances that lead to it. For instance, the countries that have legalized assisted suicide have never experienced such a slippery slope because the legislations that allow the practice often comes with strict conditions for notification hence it is not easy to determine whether the cases of involuntary suicide decreases or increases following the change in laws (Norman, A, G.
et al. 2010). Finally, the respect for autonomy support allowing for assisted suicide because autonomy implies self ownership of the people and the right of pursuing their life goals in conditions that they do not harm anybody. If it is autonomy that means the control over the way people live, it will also mean the control over the way people die which has been considered since antiquity to be of the freedom that cannot be denied to human beings and therefore must be allowed as a liberty right. The discrimination of assisted suicide implies that choosing to die is a reasonable option and makes it a crime.
On the other hand the society does not give proposition to above actions which results to assisted suicide because of the following considerations. First, the observational based assertion rests on one sensational and hypothetical description of one state of the terminal illness. It is not anchored in any of the evidence-based researches. The truth of the matter is that many patients who are terminally ill do not live in a permanent state of the hell because the modern medicine can actually eliminate numerous bodily pains to an extent where the body regains back to its functional state with the possible happiness in life. Although the withdrawals of the interventions that support life, this should be seen as different from legalizing assisted suicide. In this case, the real practices such as the use of lethal injections and removal of the invasive apparatus.
For example, the doctors who decide to withdraw treatments do not have an intention of ending the lives of patients but to remove the medical intervention which could itself lead to persistent pains and suffering (David A.1996). In the field of medical science more especially that related to the terminal illness, advances are very rapid. This is because the terminal illnesses are readily available to researchers. Therefore it should be believed without doubt that treatments are getting more effective, the painkillers get better, and side effects are taken care off in desirable way. The relevant examples include the modern chemotherapy, and the treatment of serious diseases such as the HIV/AIDS more especially in the countries which are more developed.
Following the scientific advancements, most the cases involving terminal illnesses can be able from unbearable to somehow bearable states. For instance, the patients’ bodies can easily adjust to chemotherapy, or the maximum amount of chemotherapy needed for a patient suffering from cancer can be greatly reduced. On top of this, the terminally ill patients in developed countries can be assisted to get lid of the effects of their illness in their lives by making use of the improvements in palliative care. Analytically, all of the above aspects posses a force against a hypothetical case of proposition of someone are an exceptional to many of the benefits associated with a fully functional life with joy despite the suffering and pains afflicted on him/her by a terminal illness. Therefore the proposition above is being quick in regarding terminal with hell where life doesn’t exist. Those patients who suffer from terminal cancer live very productive and inspirational lives that are very desirable and sometimes their condition of terminal illness becomes a catalyst for the full and successive existence.
If we fully support and apply the aspect of an early death, many of the terminal ill patients may not go an extra mile to realizing the human will to live, negligently denying themselves of the possibility of deriving inspiration from their medical hopelessness. Secondly, proposition is seen as philosophically perplexed because death is not a value in the ideal community at all. It should be viewed as a non-existence state. To my opinion, values are the attitudes and principles which exist in society, and which we portray in the kinds of the lives we live, and the choices we always make. More importantly, however, all people value life, not because they think it is an inevitable naturally good, but rather for the significant reason that positive attitudes towards being alive are necessary to live a most worthwhile life at all.
On the other hand, dead people cannot even take part in choosing the kind of the lifestyle they want to lead. So if proposition is as joyous – excuse the playing with words – as they sseem to be about proselytizing the world to care more about the worthwhile lives, then they had the better value existence itself. But sometimes doing that in the logic way requires a legal acceptance that the policies promoting death such as active euthanasia is in serious conflict with the spirit of proposition’s own practical correctness (Materstvedt.L .2003).
In many liberal societies, people consume some substances such as tobacco and alcohol not because of the proposition, but for other benefits. For instance smoking of tobacco in many places is partly constitutive of many people’s conception that the act ethically good and it is associated with some prestige. The alcohol taking is taken as a relaxing practice and when these substances are moderately taken, they don’t cause any irreversible harm i.e. alcohol taken in very small amounts can never ruin the people’s lives.
Because of these facts underlying the consumption of the above substances, the connection between them and euthanasia does not hold. Therefore, the proposition that relies on the analogy between the societies that allow the use of substances above and the cry out for the legalization of active euthanasia is invalid (Pretzer. M, 2000). The high response rate in many conducted researches clearly shows the significance of this topic to physicians in the entire world, who possess the practical issues about the legalizing physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia. The outcomes bring out a greater acceptance of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia among the physicians.
The greater percentage of the doctors in the world believes that physician-assisted suicide is ethical and should be legal in some special cases, and nearly half of the doctors might be willing and ready to write prescriptions for lethal doses of medication if they were legalized by the law. This physicians ‘support for the concept of assisted suicide or euthanasia is however counterbalanced by the concern about its practical applications. This unreliable issue raises serious questions about the potential for the incomplete suicides which arises due to unreliable prescribing information. In current time, we are not in possession of any well published data concerning the effectiveness of the drugs and even doses that are orally used as the means of committing assisted suicide. Also most religions in the world do not allow euthanasia as they regard it as murder (killing) which is against their faith (Cohen S.1994).
Even if the respect for autonomy is important, it should not be extended to assisted suicide. In regard to this, many people have argued that assisted suicide do not qualify to be autonomous because it leads to the end of the autonomy possibility. In addition, they do not consider the request for assisted suicide to be autonomous if it results from a symptom of an illness. Therefore, assisted suicide cannot be autonomous under such cases (Norman, A, G. et al.
2010).Conclusion The high response rate in many conducted researches clearly shows the significance of this topic to physicians in the entire world, who possess the practical issues about the legalizing physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia. The outcomes bring out a greater acceptance of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia among the physicians. The greater percentage of the doctors in the world believes that physician-assisted suicide is ethical and should be legal in some special cases, and nearly half of the doctors might be willing and ready to write prescriptions for lethal doses of medication if they were legalized by the law. This physicians ‘support for the concept of assisted suicide or euthanasia is however counterbalanced by the concern about its practical applications. This unreliable issue raises serious questions about the potential for the incomplete suicides which arises due to unreliable prescribing information.
In current time, we are not in possession of any well published data concerning the effectiveness of the drugs and even doses that are orally used as the means of committing assisted suicide. Also most religions in the world do not allow euthanasia as they regard it as murder (killing) which is against their faith. If any form of assisted suicide is allowed in any society, then some unlawful actions will emerge in that society. For instance, the society will have much pressure on the vulnerable people, the undesirable underdevelopment of the palliative care, existence of serious conflicts between legal demands and professional and personal values of the physicians and even other health care personnel, the increment of the non-voluntary killing of people and the society will accept the killing of people. Also, patients may be forced to develop fears that their lives will be unnecessarily lengthened or cut short in unbearable anguish.
This will lead to assisted suicide or euthanasia in the society. To curb this, action should be taken through the use of the living wills and also making some early directives which contributes to the improved communication and the developed health care plans leading to the facilitation of the patients autonomy. The society is supposed to give due respect to the individual preferences for assisted suicide and it is also vital for the society to redirect the attention to the responsibility of all people to provide the required care to the elderly, the sick and those with different kinds of vulnerabilities. To achieve this, appropriate research, finance and advanced education are the major requirements. If the three requirements are met, the society will be in a position of realizing the alternative to the action of assisted suicide or euthanasia.