Table of Contents
A lot of people have very complicated medical conditions that are not reversible. Health of these people deteriorates as they head towards an imminent journey of death. They suffer a lot and live in constant pain. In the course of their suffering, these people may plead for their suffering to be ended by asking their doctors to terminate their lives. In other words, they wish for a physician assisted suicide. This makes people want to end the misery of these suffering people, and they feel that physician assisted suicide should be legalized. Therefore, a lot of people have risen to advocate for physician assisted suicide. However, physician assisted suicide should not be legalized as it is a form of killing, which puts human life to an end. Terminating the life of a person to end his/her physical suffering will only increase the number of deaths. A lot of people also feel that psychological suffering should also be included in the list.
All people in the society have a moral duty to preserve and protect lives of human beings. Therefore, people should never be allowed to assist in ending the lives of others. This is because by allowing people to end lives of others, the society will destroy the fundamental duty of valuing human life. The society also feels that people have a responsibility to make lives of suffering people worth living (De Ville, 2001). People should not end lives of the sick. Instead, they should take this challenge to serve humanity and they should always care for others. The society that is characterized by strong social bonds does not (and should not) support physician aided suicide. This is because death should only result from natural (and other related) causes, but it should never be predetermined by people. A society that will allow physician aided suicide will inevitably face a lot of challenges in determining the cases that justify the termination and cases that do not.
Further, those opposed to the idea of assisted suicide assert that society has a moral duty to resist all regulations that pose a risk to the lives of innocent people. Inevitably, laws that will allow assisted suicide will pose such a risk. According to these people, allowing assisted suicide on the basis of compassion or mercy will make people help and urge the death of people whose lives they deem undesirable or worthless. This is because people will get an excuse for having to kill other people they do not like once the latter get a minor medical complication. Allowing such laws will also make people (mostly relatives) want to request terminally ill patients to be killed. These people (mostly inconvenienced relatives) may not be driven by good intentions regarding the patient. They might be simply avoiding the inconveniences associated with catering for the sick relative. These inconveniences include things such as medical bills, time spent with the patient, and stigmatization (Jeffrey, 2008).
People also change their minds depending on circumstances, and those who oppose assisted suicide feel that patients, once having made a request to die, may change their minds later. However, these people may be in a position in which they cannot inform doctors about change in their wishes, and, therefore, they will die unwillingly. These people also feel that legalizing assisted suicide will make only certain types of life classified as worth living. People will start feeling that only a certain type of life is worth living, and this will undermine human dignity. They feel that there is no life that should be perceived as worthless, since devaluing a single life will mean devaluing all lives. Therefore, there will be no people left to protect lives of people like the severely handicapped infants and senile women.
Assisted suicide will also put a lot of people under unnecessary pressure. For instance, doctors and nurses will be forced to terminate lives of patients. Doctors and nurses may be unwilling to do this but, at the same time, they will have to since they will be expected to perform their duties. Rights of these medical practitioners will be violated since they will be forced to cooperate in ending the lives of patients, who have chosen to commit suicide. Allowing physician aided suicide will come with a lot of temptations, especially when people will want to save money and get profit. For instance, medical insurance companies may feel that they are losing lots of money paying for a patient, whose death is imminent. Therefore, they may feel that ending the life of such a patient will be desirable, since the company will not have to incur a lot of expenses paying patient’s medical bills. Therefore, these companies may be forced to determine the cases of patients to live and those to die. This will undermining sacred human life since these companies will start gambling with it. This should not be allowed to happen (Jeffrey, 2008).
Psychologists have argued that a lot of people undergo a lot of psychological torture. These people become socially disoriented and lose the purpose of their lives. According to some psychologists, these mentally disturbed people undergo more torture and pain than people admitted to hospitals. Therefore, legalizing assisted suicide will concern a lot of people with different medical conditions (physical and psychological). Thus, the process of determining what patients should be put out of their misery will not follow a standard procedure, and a lot of people who do not deserve to die will be killed. In the light of this, it has been argued that assisted suicide should not be allowed, since it will bring a lot of legal and moral complications in a number of cases.
Dramatic and rapid developments in the field of medicine and technology have granted humans the ability to save many lives, which was impossible in the past. Consequently, medicine has provided people with the means of curing and reducing sufferings of patients, who are afflicted with ailments that were, once, fatal or painful. Additionally, modern medical technology has helped people to sustain lives of people, whose mental and physical capabilities could not be reinstated. These people include patients with degenerating states that cannot be reversed and those people, whose pain cannot be eased (Candle, 2009). Therefore, people who support physician aided suicide say that people with such conditions should be put out of their misery and suffering. This is because medicine struggles to remove people from the edge of death, but the plea that deteriorated, tortured lives continues to grow. People now feel that science should be respected, and if science cannot help, patients should be allowed to die with dignity before they reach the edge. These sentiments are taken seriously by many, which made the state of California to come up with an initiative called the Humane and Dignified Death Act. This act allows a physician to terminate the life of a person who is terminally sick, but the patient must give his consent.
People who support legislation to legalize assisted suicide assert that all human beings have a moral right to decide the course of their lives freely. They should be allowed to decide what to do as long as they cause no harm to others (Candle, 2009). This moral right of free choice inculcates the right to terminate one's life when one chooses. The act of finishing one's life can be performed easily by some people, while others may have a wish to end their lives but lack the ability to do so. These people include patients whose condition, disease, or handicap makes them incapable of ending their life in an effective manner. Therefore, people who support physician aided suicide feel that people with such disabilities should be assisted when they decide to die. Their wishes should be respected when they ask for help in using their right to die.
A lot of people, especially family members and caregivers, are traumatized by deteriorating health conditions of people they love. This causes them a lot of psychological suffering. Under such conditions, caregivers lack the motivation to live their lives well as a consequence to the shock experienced after caring for people who are terminally ill. Therefore, people claim that ending the lives of suffering patients will reduce the suffering of many other people, and it will be good (Manning, 1998). This is because caregivers will become more productive, and they will be able to use their energy on doing other important things that do not traumatize them. Therefore, the lives of terminally ill patients should be ended. This will reduce suffering of the patient and those people close to the patient. It will uphold the dignity of all people.
Additionally, people have argued that humans have an obligation to end the suffering of other human beings to respect their dignity. A lot of people undergo excruciating pain in hospitals as a result of terminal conditions and painful diseases that have rendered them incapable of living any kind of dignified human life. This can make lives to be filled with degradation, deterioration, and suffering. Therefore, people feel that such patients should be given a chance to die with dignity when they ask to be killed. It is inhumane and cruel to refuse these people’s pleas.
Let Them Live
People who oppose any measures that permit assisted suicide claim that society has a moral responsibility to protect and preserve all life on Earth. People should not be allowed to assist others in destroying their lives since this deed violates the fundamental duty of respecting human life. A society that is committed to protecting and preserving life should not allow people to destroy it.
Individuals who argue that people should be allowed to end human’s life claim that a lot of funds go to medical expenses in hospitals. This is not efficient since the patient is likely to die anyways. Although this statement might be true, the main reason why hospitals are built is to save human life, not end it. Therefore, it will be against their fundamental purpose for hospitals to end human life. Moreover, allowing physicians to end lives of people will greatly contribute to the downfall of medical institutions (De Ville, 2001). This is because people will lose hope in medical institutions and they may not want to seek medical advice. This will only lead to more deaths. Additionally, the advancement of medical technology has helped to save many lives, and termination of human life will be a setback to the goals already achieved. Therefore, people should not be able to determine the time of death of other people (Martha, 2008).
The debate continues as to whether physician aided suicide should be allowed or not. Both sides that oppose and protect this argument have some valid arguments, and it will take a lot of time to come to a conclusion. However, this issue should be examined in depth so as to come up with an ideal law concerning this issue.