Physician-Assisted Suicide in the United States

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While it is legal in only seven states and Washington DC, physician-assisted suicide, is a topic of growing controversy. More and more people are leaning in support of physician-assisted suicide. However, there are many reasons why so many people are still against it. The reason most people including myself, would argue that it should be legal is so someone who knows they are in the end of life process does not have to suffer for months on end.

Physician-assisted suicide is active voluntary euthanasia, when a physician prescribes a lethal medication to an individual.

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The induvial takes the prescribed lethal medication him or herself. Eden Joy Silverman says in her dissertation “”Quality of Life and Depression: Attitudes Toward Physician-Assisted Suicide in Patients with AIDS””, “”Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a physician provides medications or information to a patient with the understanding that the patient intends to use them to commit suicide”” (pg. 3)

Researcher Christina Chantel Reed said, in her dissertation “”Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide in California. Will Californians Support or Oppose PAS?”” “”In 1997, physician-assisted suicide was legalized in Oregon, giving the right of an individual to end his or her life when over the age of 18, terminally ill and given less than six months to live.”” (pg. 1 abstract)

Affordability of the physician-assisted suicide is not much different from palliative care initially. Palliative care is roughly two thousand seven hundred and forty-four dollars a month, but the thing about palliative care is the patient could recover and continue living their life. Even after the patient pays all that money, whereas physician-assisted suicide the patient pays the money once and the physician in charge oversees the patient to make sure all is well in the end.

Self determination is a patients’ right and to tell them that they are not allowed to do something they and the physician are willing to do conflicts with these rights. Patients should have the right to choose what they want to do with their end stage life. During many people lives they create a living will. A living will is what helps your family members or your children determine what they want to do with you if something is to ever happen to you and you are to go into a comma and not come out. Instead of them having to figure out who has to be the one in charge of pulling the plug or the one to hold the most weight on their shoulders the patient should be able to have the right to have physician-assisted suicide written in his living will.

Death is one of just a few of the healthiest things a person can do in their entire life. Everyone lives everyone dies, to natural causes, and some to some not so natural causes like car wrecks, gunshot wounds or other things along those lines. People who have been diagnosed with illness that cannot be treated. Those are the people that should have the right to choose what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. The one of them care more about their pride and their dignity than they would the last few months of people who have not spoken to them in years coming out of the wood works, just to speak to them now because their entering the end of life stage. They are the one that should have the right to have the choice of physician-assisted suicide.

In an opposing argument Hendrik van der Breggen states that “”there’s a neglected third option palliative.”” Palliative care is defined as comfort care for those who are in the end of life stages. Palliative care is supposed to help those who are receiving the care feel comfort and relieve their suffering. While this may be helpful, it is only prolonging the process and putting off the inevitable.

In conclusion physician-assisted suicide should be legalized in more states because people that are terminally ill should have an alternative other than palliative care or for them to suffer through their final days. There are many benefits for the wellbeing of the patients and their loved ones. The financial costs are about the same as palliative care, but with physician-assisted suicide there is no worrying about suffering. It should be the patient’s freedom to choose what they do with their own lives. If they choose to partake in physician-assisted suicide, then they and the physician should have the right to talk about it on their own terms in privacy. It should not be held against a physician for giving a terminally ill patient and non-suffering way out. Many people diagnosed with highly unlikely treatable cancer go through chemo every year to test their odds and suffer.

Works Cited

Hendrik van, der B. “”Doctor-Assisted Death a Dangerous Step.”” Winnipeg Free Press, Nov 08, 2015. ProQuest,

Humphry, Derek. “”How Much Do Physician-Assisted Suicide Drugs Cost?””, 5 Sept. 2018,

Reed, Christina C. Legalization of Physician -Assisted Suicide in California: Will Californians Support Or Oppose Physician-Assisted Suicide?, Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay, Ann Arbor, 2009. ProQuest,

Silverman, Eden J. Quality of Life and Depression: Attitudes Toward Physician -Assisted Suicide in Patients with AIDS, Case Western Reserve University, Ann Arbor, 2001. ProQuest,

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Physician-Assisted Suicide in the United States. (2019, Dec 04). Retrieved from