The Medical Professionals Influence On The Right To Die Movement

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The Medical Professionals Influence on the Right-to-Die Movement
Michelle Rand
March 31st, 2015

Introduction As humans, we often question the amount of control that we have over our own lives; do we make all the decisions, or is our life in the hands of somebody else? The Right to Die Movement addresses this idea through the belief that individuals should ultimately control the time and circumstances of their own death. The movement fights for the opportunity of both assisted suicide, and euthanasia – two different forms of death, built upon the same concept. The Right to Die Movement is fairly new, and relies on the support of many different parties of individuals, the most influential ones being medical professionals. The influence of medical professionals on the success of the movement can be analyzed through the lens of the relative deprivation theory and resource mobilization theory. With the use of a relative deprivation lens, it is argued that medical professionals feel deprived in the ability to fulfill the wishes of their patients, as well as in the ability to open their own private practices. Additionally, the use of a resource mobilization lens allows medical professionals to be viewed as the most influential resources of the Right to Die movement.

Research Question
1. How does the influence of medical professionals impact the success of the Right to Die movement?
In order to answer this, I will use the relative deprivation theory to explain how medical professionals feel deprived, as they are not able to carry out the wants/needs of their patients and are also deprived of the ability to open private practices. Additionally, I will use resource mobilization theory to explain how medical professionals serve as the most influential resources to the success of the Right to Die movement.

Description of the Social Movement
Summary of the Right to Die Movement The Right to Die Movement has been around for nearly a century, but was not well known until recently. It is a movement in support of the free choice for terminally ill persons to determine the circumstances in which they want to end their suffering. The Right to Die Movement outlines two ways in which one may choose to end their life – assisted suicide or active euthanasia. Both are different forms of voluntary death, built upon the same concept that all individuals should have ultimate control over their bodies, and therefore consent to their own death. Assisted suicide “entails making lethal means available to the patient to be used at a time of the patient’s own choosing” while voluntary active euthanasia involves the physician in carrying out the patients request, often through the use of intravenous delivery of a lethal substance (What is the Difference Between Assisted Dying and Euthanasia?, 2015). The beliefs of the Right to Die Movement raise controversial concerns as many people are against this way of thinking, leading to counter movements such as the Right to Life Movement.

Relation to other social movements The Right to Die movement is strongly connected to the Disability Rights movement, as the Disability Rights movement opposes the beliefs of the Right to Die movement. The Disability Rights movement advocates for individuals with disabilities to have equal rights as all other individuals. “Loss of autonomy” is considered a sufficient reason to receive assisted suicide in areas (such as Oregon) that have legalized such practices. Members of the Disability Rights movement believe that because of this, the Right to Die movement is discriminating against people with disabilities, and pressuring them to receive self-assisted suicide in order to rid their families or care-takers of the burden that they may place on them. The Disability Rights movement’s fight against the legalization of assisted-suicide has made it is increasingly hard for the Right to Die movement to be successful. The Right to Die