Is the government infringing on an unrecognized right? The choice to die is a highly debated issue. Several people consider assisted suicide immoral. Terminally ill patients begging doctors to end their lives is very common. They suffer unimaginable pain every day. When those patients tire from living though constant agony, death is a way to regain control. They seek out the help of a medical professional to assist with a pain free death. Many people question the law’s involvement in such personal decisions. The opposition of physician assisted suicide has created legislation which prevents patients from regaining control and ultimately forces them to suffer. People place caveats on the act of elective euthanasia, but why should those opinions matter? Although legislation protects citizens’ rights, the unrecognized ‘right to die’ is being violated.
Suicide, in the United States, is generally thought of as being wrong and religion is used as validation. In a study conducted on nurses to test the relation of their views on euthanasia and their religion, the results were as follows: “Bendiane et al.32 observed that nurses who expressed their belief in a God who masters their destiny were less likely to favour the legalization of medical acts that deliberately end a patient’s life” (Gielen, van den Branden, and Broeckaert 312). Christians are known to believe that suicide is sinful, in general. John B. Mitchell claims that suicide was accepted by early Christians to avoid “fates worse than death”. Rape, torture, and arrest qualified as adequate reasons to commit suicide. He wonders why disease inflicted agony fails to qualify for modern Christians (31). The view of suicide being sinful is not the only argument, others choose the ‘Sanity of Life’ approach. Hergameh Hosseini writes, “Sanctity of life. On the basis of both religious traditions and secular ethical principles (such as the principle of autonomy), we can oppose the taking of human life. It can be argued that assisted suicide is morally wrong because it contradicts these religious as well as secular ethical beliefs”(207).
Exponents of ‘right to die’ have compared assisted suicide to abortion and Do-Not-Resuscitate orders (Marzilli 20). The comparison suggests that the decision of elective euthanasia is along the same lines of Do-Not-Resuscitate orders and abortion, which are both legal. There are opponents to abortion but the act is legal. The organization Compassion in Dying briefed, “To hold that the decision [to commit suicide with the assistance of a physician] is less significant, or less firmly grounded in the Liberty Clause, than the decision whether to bear or beget a child, or to use contraceptives, or to send one’s child to private school, would do irreparable damage to this Court’s commitment to principled exposition of constitutional rights” (Marzilli 21). There are states where physician assisted suicide is legal. Those states place a high value on not infringing on privacy. Oregon’s approach to legalization was the argument that the state had no business in private affairs (Marzilli 23-24).
Hengameh Hosseini contemplates opposing physician assisted suicide because of potential abuse. He believes that patients, who lack the financial means or insurance, will opt to choose death to avoid the monetary burden (207). Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands and it has been abused (Marzilli 17). Alan Marzilli uses Dr. Jack Kevorkian, also called “Dr. Death”, as an example of where the legalization of physician assisted suicide can lead. Dr. Kevorkian, creator of a “suicide machine”, assisted with the suicides of over 100 patients and was convicted of second-degree murder (11-12). The general belief of people against euthanasia is that there is no way to prevent abuse, so it should be outlawed. John B. Mitchell concludes, “In the domain of the slippery