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Should Assisted Suicide Be Legal in USA - Essay Example

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In an actively assisted suicide the person who assists will be held to have actively participated in taking positive acts in ending another’s life, and alternatively, passively assisted suicide would denote a situation where the death has come about to a negative act, or an omission, of the person who assists. (A possible case for passively assisted suicide is Airedale NHS Trust v Bland where a patient had been in a persistent vegetative state for a long time and the life-support machine was disconnected.) However, Sumner1 argued in his book that this distinction between active and passive euthanasia is “both obscure and misleading”. Normally, assisted suicide would occur when a physician administers a life-ending injection to the patient, this is called medically-assisted suicide, and the act of assisted suicide has been embroiled in a myriad of legal, ethical and medical battles because of this very reason. At the heart of the controversy lies the contradiction that if a patient, with his own free consent, decides to end his own life, should the ones who assisted him/her or allowed him/her to commit such an act (for example, the physician), be charged with accounts of aiding/abetting murder or manslaughter? According to Davies2 this term would denote any decision taken in relation to termination of a person’s life. The issue is surrounded in controversies: the academic, legal and medical view on the question differs greatly mainly because this issue, just like the issue of abortion, is a burning one. To conclude whether assisted death may be legalized in the UK, both ends of the spectrums must be analyzed and evaluated. On the one end lies the argument of “sanctity of human life” and on the other end lie the human rights of issue: if a person has a right to live and this right has been granted to him under the law, he also has a right to end his life in whichever way he pleases – the state should not intrude. This imbroglio within this topic tends to divide the views on the basis of religion, political motivation, jurisprudential school of thought and it beckons a strong and varied discussion on whether law should follow morals, or vice versa. The purpose of this paper will be to evaluate the views that support and discourage on both sides of the spectrum. Basically, euthanasia or assisted suicide tends to polarize the views in just two directions: the school that allows this and the school that doesn’t. But practically, the issues that plague this concept are based on law and ethics: One side of law allows it but the other denies it, similarly, one side of ethics favors it but the other discourages it. And this is main reason why this issue still has not been settled, and why euthanasia has neither been expressly forbidden in law nor entirely allowed. The paper will first examine the legal issues that surround this issue. According to Suicide Act 1961 the issue of assisted suicide is punishable with 14 years imprisonment under Section 2(1), however because much debate has sparked in recent times regarding “human rights” “individual choice” “free consent” etc. it is unlikely that this sentence would be given out that readily to those who do assist people to terminate their lives3. Therefore there is a dire need of clarity in the law regarding assisted suicide. The ...Show more
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Should assisted suicide be legal in this country ? University Name Should assisted suicide be legalised in this country? Assisted suicide or Euthanasia is a term that describes the act of taking one’s own life in presence of a physician/family member and usually due to the unbearable effects of a chronic disease, that the victim deems not only legitimate but also as an expression of his “right to die”…
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