You’ve just been given the news that you have an incurable brain tumor, you’re not old, but you’re not young. Your children have just started having babies of their own; your husband/wife is just retiring and starting to enjoy life. You have been given a few months to live. After thinking about the sadness of leaving your family and friends, you start to think about just before death, how is your family going to take care of you? How much pain am I going to be in? How is my husband/wife and kids going to feel watching me suffer? Not to mention the financial burden? Do you start thinking about how you can go without suffering for yourself or your loved ones? Is this where you start thinking physician assisted suicide (PAS) could be helpful? Only you can’t even ask your physician about it because it’s illegal in all states in the US except Oregon.
Physician-assisted suicide isn’t about physicians becoming killers. It’s about patients whose suffering we can’t relieve, and about not turning away from them when they ask for help.
Many arguments are put forward for maintaining the prohibition against physician-assisted suicide, but I believe they are outweighed by two fundamental principles that support ending the prohibition: patient autonomy (the right to control one’s own body) and the physician’s duty to relieve suffering.
While this has already been decided in legal proceedings as being wrong or illegal, there are some questions as to the morality of physician assisted suicide. There are definitely arguments for and against PAS and I will discuss both in this paper. Starting with the argument for physician assisted suicide.
Based on the classical ethic theories I will present arguments for PAS and then against:
Utilitarianism: According to Kurt Mosser (2010) in Ethics and Social Responsibilities “Utilitarianism is a natural way to see if an act is the right thing to do (or wrong thing to do) is to look at its results, or consequences. Utilitarianism argues...