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Physician-assisted suicide (PAS)

In recent years, physician-assisted suicide has become the focus of great moral, political, and constitutional controversy in the United States. Physician-assisted suicide (PAS), which involves a doctor knowingly and intentionally providing a person with the knowledge on how to commit suicide, including; counseling about lethal doses of drugs and supplying the drugs, is increasingly being legalized and physician’s now face individual decisions on whether to endorse and/or participate in the practice. PAS has brought up many questions regarding whether or not it should be legal in all states. However, this shouldn’t be of discussion because competent terminally ill patients should be given the right to physician assisted suicide in order to end their suffering, reduce the damaging financial effects of hospital care on their families, and preserve the individual right of people to determine their own fate.

Medical technology today has reached phenomenal accomplishments in prolonging the lives of human beings. For the patients who have a chance of surviving an illness or accident, medical technology is their greatest gift. For the terminally ill, however, it is just a means of prolonging suffering. The purpose of the medicine utilized is to ease the suffering that the patient is going through. Yet, the only thing it is doing for the patient is giving that patient more intolerable pain day after day. Many terminally ill patients have gone to their doctors and asked for a final medication that would end their suffering. For example, a 29-year-old Oregon woman chose to end her life by physician assisted suicide. Brittany Maynard, who had stage four brain cancer, was diagnosed Jan. 1 and was told that she had six months to live in April. She moved from California to Oregon, where the law allowed her the choice of ending her own life and ultimately decided on doing so.

Terminally ill patients should have the right to assisted suicide because it is the best means for them to end the pain caused by an illness which no drug can cure. A competent terminal patient must have the option of assisted suicide because it is in the best interest of that person.Physician assisted suicide should be legal because the cost of trying to preserve someone’s life is very high and many families are not able to afford the medicine and high quality treatment. A competent dying person has some knowledge of this, and with every day that he or she is kept alive, the hospital costs skyrocket. “The cost of maintaining [a dying person]… has been estimated as ranging from about two thousand to ten thousand dollars a month” (Dworkin 187). Preserving human life is very expensive and there are only a handful of terminally ill patients who can afford to prolong their life; and for the ones who can’t, the cost of their lives is left to their families. Of course, most families do not consider the cost while the terminally ill loved-one is still alive, but, when that loved-one passes away, the family has to struggle with a huge hospital bill and are left financially unstable.

Most terminally ill patients want their death to be a peaceful one and with as much comfort as possible and to leave the family financially unstable is by no means a form of comfort. Those terminally ill patients who have accepted their imminent death cannot prevent their families from falling into financial debt because they do not have the option of halting the medical bills from piling up. However, this can change if terminally ill patients have the option of physician assisted suicide. They can ease their families” financial burdens as well as their suffering.In addition, PAS should be legal because patients should be able to decide whether or not to have aid in dying as a medical option to shorten an unbearable dying process. Criminalizing assisted suicide simply violates the constitution, specifically the fourteenth amendment: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. Individuals should be able to decide what they want to do because many believe that it seems as if they are “not so much prolonging their life” but “prolonging their death”.

All states should allow the patient to decide whether or not they should have aid-in-dying because it is the best means for them to end the pain caused by an illness that cannot be cured. The right to assisted suicide is a constitutional right; it is a liberty which cannot be denied because those who are dying might want to use this liberty as a way to pursue their happiness. There shouldn’t be any debating on whether or not physician assisted suicide should be legal in all states, it should. Physician assisted suicide should be legal in all states of America because competent terminally ill patients should be given the right to end their suffering, reduce the damaging financial effects of hospital care on their families, and preserve their individual right of determining their fate.

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