Suicide. Some imagine the unsuccessful businessman slowly bringing a gun to his head. Some see Romeo and Juliet uniting themselves for eternity though death. Others remember Lifetime Television Movies about women in their twenties who overdose on over the counter pills. But there are as many different reasons for suicide as there are people. Take for example, Jeannine. At the age of 103 Jeannine decided that she had lived a full life. She stopped taking her medications and died a few days later in her sleep. Jeannine was healthy for her age and for the most part able to care of herself. Although she committed suicide, her particular case should not carry the false connotation of misery which often accompanies such deaths. Jeannine was not miserable; she merely chose to consciously and responsibly plan her death.
Physician assisted suicide is based on an ideal of conscious responsibility and control over one's life.
In some circumstances when modern medicine cannot ease the physical and/or psychological suffering of a terminally ill patient, forcibly prolonging life is cruel and unnecessary. In such cases, the doctor does more harm by keeping the patient alive against his wishes than by helping him die. A terminally ill person may not want to live "superficially" with the help of modern medical advances since the quality of his life will dramatically decrease. Physical pain is not the only element of suffering; emotional distress is an equally serious concern for those considering physician-assisted suicide. It should not be the place of anyone other than the patient to determine what constitutes intolerable suffering.
If passed, a recent bill proposed by a Massachusetts legislator would outlaw physician-assisted suicide and effectively deny Americans the "unalienable" rights of the freedom of every individual emphasized in the Declaration of Independence. Those who oppose PAS argue that it is a violation of divine law; an act forbidden in most religions, and one that is fundamentally immoral. However, there is a separation of church and state in the US and no person or organization has the right to impose religious or moral beliefs on others. Others worry that physician assisted suicide inadvertently discourages life by making suicide an easily accessible option. However, the reassurance of knowing that physician assisted suicide is an alternative, should it become necessary, may decrease the number of other suicide and homicide cases. There are times when, out of fear that he will be incapable of acting later because of deteriorating physical condition, a patient takes his life sooner than is necessary, or asks someone else to facilitate his death.
Just as the government does not have the right to deny life, it should not be able to control it, or determine when it ends. Terminally ill patients have the constitutional and human right to end their lives at a time of their choosing, with or without the help of a doctor.