Assisted Suicide - The Right to Choose

Assisted Suicide - The Right to Choose

Assisted Suicide – The Right to Choose
Shannon Laing

Assisted Suicide – The Right to Choose

The right to choose whether to live or die is one that we all take for granted. This is a choice,
that until we are faced with a grim reality, most people do not even think about. However, most
people are not aware that where you live may dictate whether you even have a choice in the
matter. Currently, there are three states which give you the right to choose, to live or die, in the
face of a terminal illness. There are multiple terms to describe assisted suicide, depending upon
what your opinion on this sensitive matter are. Whether we as people, or patients, as it would be,
have the right to choose, depends invariably on where we reside, the legal judgements, and how
we perceive this ethical decision.
The three states that currently have the Death with Dignity Act in place are Washington,
Oregon, and Vermont. Some people, including several national professional organizations
within these states, object to the term suicide, stating that this implies some degree or type of
mental illness. The term that these national organizations have adopted to use for assisted
suicide is, patient directed dying or physician aid-in-dying. The reason that these organizations
had to adopt a specific term is because some outdated terminology has taken on a social
definition or a particular stance on this emotional and complex subject. The legal term for this
act is called the Death with Dignity Act. Neither term is used in Washington, Oregon, or
Vermont. According to Braddock III, MD, MPH (2013), "Physician aid-in-dying (PAD) refers
to a practice in which a physician provides a competent, terminally ill patient with a prescription
for a lethal dose of medication, upon the patient's request, which the patient intends to use to end

his or her own life" (para. 1). There are also eligibility requirements in these three states as well.

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