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Should an incurably-ill patient be able to commit physician-assisted suicide?

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Should an incurably-ill patient be able to commit physician-assisted suicide? Moral or immoral

Assisted suicide is whereby one who maybe incapable, is provided with means be it drugs or equipment to commit suicide. This is different from euthanasia in the sense that in euthanasia the murder is committed by the other party but in assisted suicide the individual performs the act.

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It is immoral for an incurably –ill patient to commit physician –assisted suicide

The Major religions (Abrahamic, Islam and Dharmic) in the world do not support suicide of any kind, this makes assisted suicide immoral.

I believe religion plays a very important role to most people and since majority of the people in the world believe in religion.

Assisted suicide still remains a controversial issue to the countries where it has been passed by law. As much as this countries or states have passed the law that assisted suicide still remains a debatable issue.

            In the event of modern medicine and science where life expectancy has become longer, assisted suicide is a public issue of which it can lead to constant abuse.

            The  rate of suicide has generally risen as the world is trying to curb this vice , human kind will corrupt  that it was  assisted suicide and the patient had an incurably disease.

Religion has a strong stand against any form of suicide.

Judaism faith has traditionally with great emphasis stated the importance of life and seen suicide as very serious sin. Suicide has always been forbidden in the Jewish law. It is not seen as an acceptable alternative even if one is being forced to commit certain self sacrifices under Jewish laws for which one must give up one’s life rather than sin. Assisting in suicide and requesting such assistance (thereby creating an accomplice to a sinful act) is also forbidden. The prohibition  of suicide is not only recorded in the Talmud but also in the post-talmudic tractate Semahot (Evel Rabbati )2:1-5 ,this serves as a fact that the later Jewish law on suicide.

In the modern Catholicism suicide is considered as an immortal sin. The major argument is that life belongs to God only and not humankind. In 2281 of the Catechism it is stated that- Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

The essential context regarding the Catholic Church condemns suicide and insistence on the sanctity of life.

Christians have always argued that suicide involves killing oneself, then anyone committing the act is sinning as the way someone else kills the other. In the Ten Commandments it clearly states thou shall not kill. Although there is no specific verse in the Bible that states that suicide leads to hell afterlife but killing another person or killing oneself is the same.

Christianity and the church has a strong position in two fold argument –Suicide is rejection of humankind love for God since he is the provider of life.

Islam condemns suicide like other Abrahamic religions, views suicide as sinful and highly detrimental to one’s spiritual journey. For those who formerly believed, but ultimately rejected belief in God, the result seems unambiguously negative. A verse in the fourth chapter of the Quran, An-Nisaa (The Women) instructs; “And do not kill yourselves, surely Allah is most Merciful to you.” (4:29).The prohibition of suicide has also been recorded in authentic statements of hadith. For example; “He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell-fire, and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself, he shall keep stabbing himself in the Hell-fire.”[i]

Dharmic faiths also highly condemn suicide example in Hinduism, murdering one’s own body is considered equally sinful as murdering another, with the exception of the currently defunct practice of sati. Scriptures generally state that to die by suicide (and any type of violent death) results in becoming a ghost, wandering earth until the time one would have otherwise died, had one not committed suicide.[ii]

Buddhism also condemns all forms of killing .According to Buddhism , individuals’ past acts heavily influence what they experience in the present; present acts, in turn, become the background influence for future experiences (the doctrine of Karma). Intentional action by mind, body or speech has a reaction. This reaction, or repercussion, is the cause of conditions and differences we come across in the world.

Buddhism teaches that all people experience substantial suffering (dukkha), which suffering primarily originates from past negative deeds (karmically), or just from being in( samsara,)the cycle of birth and death. For Buddhists, since the first precept is to refrain from the destruction of life, including oneself, suicide is clearly considered a negative form of action.

Many people will ask the question- what happens if I don’t believe in any religion (Atheist).

Banning assisted suicide or not allowing it is not meant to impose religious beliefs on anyone.

This issue should not be regarded as a religious issue nor does it only affect religious people only but the world at large. Assisted suicide is about public policy and the law. The fact that the religious convictions of some people parallel what has been long-standing public policy does not disqualify them from taking a stand on an issue. What happens to public unaccepted morals like stealing and lying where we as human beings have power o correct.

Life and death are issues that are beyond humanity so what we cannot rectify or correct ,as it is beyond our reach lets live life and let life end when the end comes and that is death.

Assisted suicide still remains a controversial issue to the countries where it has been passed by law. As much as this countries or states have passed the law that assisted suicide still remains a debatable issue.

Assisted suicide is illegal in many countries of the world except, the Netherlands and Belgium are the only jurisdictions in the world where laws specifically permit euthanasia or assisted suicide.

In February 2008, Luxembourg passed a law to permit euthanasia and assisted suicide.  However, the law will not go into effect until additional procedures are completed.  Implementation was expected in mid-2008 of which the time has come now. The only state in United States of America that permits assisted suicide is- Oregon[iii]. The Netherlands and Belgium permit both euthanasia and assisted suicide. Although euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in Switzerland, assisted suicide is penalized only if it is carried out “from selfish motives according to Swiss Law[iv].In 1995 Australia’s Northern Territory approved a euthanasia bill.  It went into effect in 1996 but was overturned by the Australian Parliament in 1997[v]. Also, in 1997, Colombia’s Supreme Court ruled that penalties for mercy killing should be removed. However the ruling does not go into effect until guidelines are approved by the Colombian Congress[vi]

In the event of modern medicine and science where life expectancy has become longer, assisted suicide is a public issue of which it can lead to constant abuse.                                                   Modern medicine, science and technology has helped to lengthened life expectancy. A century ago, high blood pressure, pneumonia, appendicitis, diabetes and Malaria most likely meant death, often accompanied by unbearable pain. Women had shorter life expectancies than men since many died during childbirth. Antibiotics, immunizations, modern surgery and many of today’s routine therapies or medications were undiscovered. As much as one is not supposed to be forced to stay alive since the law allows surrogates to withhold or withdraw unwanted medical treatment even if that increases the likelihood that the patient will die. Assisted suicide is not   a private act it involves one person facilitating the death of another. This is a matter of very public concern since it can lead to tremendous abuse, exploitation and erosion of care for the most vulnerable people amongst humanity for example in a 1995 study, Dutch doctors reported ending the lives of 948 patients without their request.[vii]

Suppose, however that surrogates were not permitted to choose death for another and that doctors did not end patients’ lives without their request. The fact still remains that subtle, even unintended, pressure would still are unavoidable.

Such was the case with an elderly woman who died under Oregon’s assisted suicide law:

Kate Cheney, 85, reportedly had been suffering from early dementia. After she was diagnosed with cancer, her own physician declined to provide a lethal prescription for her.  Counseling was sought to determine if she was capable of making health care decisions. A psychiatrist found that Mrs. Cheney was not eligible for assisted suicide since she was not explicitly pushing for it, her daughter seemed to be coaching her to do so, and she couldn’t remember important names and details of even a recent hospital stay.Mrs. Cheney was then taken to a psychologist who said she was competent but possibly under the influence of her daughter who was “somewhat coercive.” Finally, a managed care ethicist who was overseeing her case determined that she was qualified for assisted suicide, and the lethal drugs were prescribed.[viii]

The  rate of suicide has generally risen as the world is trying to curb this vice , human kind will corrupt  that it was  assisted suicide and the patient had an incurably disease.

According to the World Health Organization report of the year 2007 stated that worldwide suicide rates have increased by 60 percent .Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among the ages of 5-55 years in both sexes.

Humanity encounters many problems like loss of loved ones, family and individual crisis, loss of honor this  factors can lead to depression and hence suicide .

 Worldwide, the prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to basically a lack of awareness of suicide as a major problem and the taboo in many societies to discuss openly about it. In fact, only a few countries have included prevention of suicide among their priorities.

With the ignorance associated with suicide worldwide we cannot afford to legalize any form of suicide since humanity will find a way to justify all the forms of suicide be it assisted.

The world is trying to curb the high rates of suicide with the justification of assisted suicide this umbers will increase by a big percentage. The people who are advocating for assisted suicide are activists who seek to change the laws; if we allow them they will be able to pursue their agenda because they have sufficient funds form extreme generous sources.

Is suicide a moral right?

In 1989, a group of physicians published a report in the New England Journal of Medicine in which they concluded that it would be morally acceptable for doctors to give patients suicide information and a prescription for deadly drugs so they can kill themselves[ix] Dr. Ronald Cranford, one of the authors of the report, publicly acknowledged that this was “the same as killing the patient.”[x]

While the law is changing the right word being used is to “kill”, this word means to end life thus causing death .Killing has never been a moral right ,and in reality if assisted suicide is legalized doctors and relatives will use this to kill their patients.

Murder cases will increase and they could be forged to be assisted suicide.

Conclusion

Murder, death, kills all the words that one can give end of life are not favorable words to normal functioning human beings.

Assisted suicide is not a good means to end suffering be it for a terminally ill person. This word  “terminal ill” has a lot of controversy when it comes to its definition people who are under severe depression can use the excuse to end their lives. There are those terminal ill person’s who have recovered or have lived longer than they expected so what happens when we give them the justification to end their lives prematurely?

Another question that people may ask is shall we let one suffer? No one should be let to suffer but this claim would be similar to saying that laws against selling contaminated food are government mandated starvation. .

 Laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide are in place to prevent abuse and to protect people from unscrupulous doctors and others. They are not, and never have been, intended to make anyone suffer.

None of the major religions in the world supports suicide; God condemns suicide in all aspects. The giver of life is the only person who is allowed to take it. God gave us this precious thing called life why end it when he has not given us the permission to do it. This is not meant to impose any religious affiliations to anyone who does not believe in God or the power of the unseen  but why is it wrong to steal ,cheat or even to covet yet it should be right to kill ?

It has been recorded earlier as my discussion above that some of the doctors were using the right to have assisted suicide to kill those even who were not aware of the decision as per the case of Mrs. Cheney. As it was reported with the Dutch doctors who abused the right to assisted suicide. The role of Doctors is to enhance and lengthen life not to end it .Science has brought many options to lengthen life and many ways to alleviate pain unlike the eras where medicine had not advances as in the 21st century.

Assisted suicide is an immoral act by the fact that there is no clear support from society, religion or science towards it. This is an issue that involves public law not a private matter as much as one may think he owns his or her life it is not the case. When one soul is lost it creates a great impact to people around us loosing a beloved one should not be an option.

Neither suicide nor attempted suicide is criminalized anywhere in the United States or in many other countries.  This is not because of any “right” to suicide. When penalties against attempted suicide were removed, legal scholars made it clear that this was not done for the purpose of permitting suicide. Instead it was intended to prevent suicide. Penalties were removed so people could seek help in dealing with the problems they’re facing without risk of being prosecuted if it were discovered that they had attempted suicide.

Activists have their careers to make by initiating policies but not inhuman policies. These are selfish individuals who just think for themselves and not at the consequences.

So to keep on the funding from these rich sources they have to keep on creating policies.

Anyone who advocates for assisted suicide is a murder and anyone who assists directly is a murderer too.

Why should we follow policies and not conscience?

End Notes

[i]  Hadith.
[ii] Hindu Website. Hinduism and suicide
[iii] Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act” (ORS 127.800-897) passed in November 1994 and went into effect in 1997
[iv]  Swiss Law. Article 115 of the Penal Code.
[v] “Rights of the Terminally Ill Act,” Northern Territory of Australia (1996).
[vi] Republic of Colombia Constitutional Court, Sentence # c-239/97, Ref. Expedient #  D-1490, May 20, 1997.
[vii] Herbert Hendin, “Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the Netherlands: Lessons from the Dutch,” 277 Journal of the American Medical Association, (June 4, 1997), p. 1720-1722
[viii] Erin Barnett, “A family struggle: Is Mom capable of choosing to die?” Oregonian, October 17, 1999.  See additional information on Kate Cheney.
[ix] Sidney H. Wanzer, M.D. et al., “The Physician’s Responsibility toward Hopelessly Ill Patients: A Second Look,” 320 The New England Journal of Medicine (March 30, 1989), p. 848.
[x] MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, PBS, March 30, 1989.

 

Cite this Should an incurably-ill patient be able to commit physician-assisted suicide?

Should an incurably-ill patient be able to commit physician-assisted suicide?. (2016, Aug 03). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/should-an-incurably-ill-patient-be-able-to-commit-physician-assisted-suicide/

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