Serious legal and ethical issues are involved in both PAS and euthanasia because of the immense value associated with human life. Some people believe that PAS and euthanasia should be allowed legally when a person is in a critical state with fewer hopes for survival. On the other hand, many people argue against it citing ethical reasons. In their opinion, only the creator has the right to take one’s life back and granting permission for PAS or euthanasia will result in misuse of such freedom by the relatives of the patients. In America, even though the Supreme Court has not taken a stand in the above issue, states have different statutes with respect to PAS and euthanasia. This paper explains the similarities and differences of the statutes governing physician assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Jane Roh written on Fox news dated January 17, 2006 about the hot debate going on in America, over the practical, moral and legal issues surrounding assisted suicide even though the Supreme Court in 1997 ruled unanimously against the physician-assisted suicide. She has also mentioned that Supreme Court in 2006 supported the Oregons physician-assisted suicide law which allows terminal patients to seek the services of PAS legally (Roh, 2006). In other words, Supreme Court has not taken a clear stand yet about the legality of allowing PAS and euthanasia. Supreme Court in many instances, pointed out that PAS is not a constitutional right. But it recognized the right of a patient to refuse treatment or taking pain medications “which may indirectly result in hastened death but not involve an intent to take life” (What Is The Current Law Regarding Assisted Suicide?, 1999). In short, Supreme Court doesn’t allow direct and intentional taking of life whereas it keeps a meaningful silence over the issue of unintentional taking of life or issues like PAS and euthanasia. In US, only Oregon State allows PAS whereas all the other states