Assisted Suicide

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate December 2001

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Assisted Suicide In November 1997, the voters in Oregon decided overwhelmingly to reject a ballot initiative that would have repealed the "Death with Dignity Act"� passed in 1994. This act stated that physician-assisted suicide should be a legal option for terminally ill patients. Whether the patients' motive is one of desire to leave this world with dignity or not, these patients should have the right to make this decision. The debate over assisted suicide is emotionally charged, with medical ethics, morality, and religion adding fuel to the debate. Modern medicine can and has prolonged the life of the average person, but these advances can also make death longer and more agonizing.

Many families have had to watch the slow and painful death of a loved one from a chronic illness. One reason some patients choose assisted suicide is to spare their families this experience. Others might not want to endure a horrible death, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Extreme pain that goes along with many types of the later stages of cancer is more like torture than living. Maybe the most common reason people choose assisted suicide is people feel that they would like to die with dignity. After a long fight with a terminal illness, a patient becomes dependent on others for everything. They loose all control of their bodily functions. In the very end of a patient's life, doctors often prescribe large doses of medication such as morphine to relieve pain, leaving a patient more like a vegetable than anything else. Patients cannot talk, feed themselves, get out of bed, or even comprehend that someone is talking to them. Once the large doses of morphine have been prescribed, a person is never really him or her self again; it is as though they are...