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Physicians Assisted Suicide

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There is currently much debate on the moral and ethical implications on physician assisted suicide. In the United States only five out of fifty states allow Physician assisted suicide procedure to be performed. Those five being Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico. Once the laws the PAS it becomes to become pervasive in the application. Natural deaths are becoming less and less. There are many views on whether it is morally right or wrong and can be seen as a sin or as the best way out or torment and pain. The term euthanasia is often used interchangeably with physician-assisted suicide (PAS). By definition it involves a doctor "knowingly and intentionally providing a person with the knowledge and/or means required to commit suicide. Additionally, it often includes counseling about lethal doses of drugs, prescribing such lethal doses or supplying the drugs." It is considered the voluntary ending of a person’s life by giving a lethal substance with the assistance of a physician. It is the practice of providing an able patient that is terminally ill to voluntarily request prescription medication with the main intention of ending his or her life.

Euthanasia has been rooted as far back as fifth century B.C. when both ancient Greeks and Romans lean on the side of supporting the matter of Ethusenthisa. In the year of 1997 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the state laws banning physicians assisted suicide, according to the constitution do not violate any state laws. In addition to the current stand, Illinois has historically taken a strong stand on this matter. For example in 1915, when Dr. Haiselden allowed a deformed baby boy die rather than to give him possible treatment of surgery that possibly could have saved his life. In another instance, archdiocese of Chicago dominated against physician assisted suicide which to that organization is considered murder. Because of that Illinois still has not passed a law for it become legal in the state. The people who are the strong support of death with dignity they have been advocating PAC for a long time. They are very strategic and present it very compassionate towards the poster patient to make it seem becoming and fit for being the best option that there is. When most of the time the terminally ill patient’s pain is of something of a straw man as if a person is receiving appropriate palliative care that person does not have to have significant pain. In the U.S. legalizing "voluntary active euthanasia means legalizing nonvoluntary euthanasia. State courts have ruled again and again that if competent patients have a right, the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment requires that incompetent people be given the same right.

In the state of Oregon the physician must be a practicing Doctor of Medicine , and that "the physician must be a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) licensed to practice medicine by the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Oregon.” In the state of Vermont only a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed to practice medicine in Washington may write this prescription of lethal drug prescription. Washington’s procedures include "only a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed to practice medicine in Washington may write this prescription. Participation is entirely voluntary. Health care providers are not required to provide prescriptions or medications to qualified patients." The physician must also be able and willing to help in assisting the suicide. And finally in sunshine state of California the individual patient wanting to get the prescription for an aid-in-dying drug should then submit two oral requests at the very least of fifteen days apart from one another and also a written form or agreement and request to the patient's physician. Then the attending physician shall directly, and “not through a designee, receive all three requests required pursuant to this section."

From a Christian perspective on this ethical issue most Christians would side that it is not morally sound. The bible teaches us in Jeremiah chapter twenty-nine and Romans eight, that God’s plan for us is life, not death. (NIV Holy Bible). It says that both our physical and spiritual death are the consequence of our falling short, our sin, and our disobedience to God. We know that He abundantly gives forgiveness and everlasting life for those who do accept the gift. When a physician's assistant acts upon a terminally ill patients wish to commit suicide it is as if the patient and the physician are implying that they have the final authority over the patient’s life. Which implies that they have higher authority than God which can viewed as a form of idolatry. And that they are taking something that is not yours, which is their life.

Given this generally accepted definition of physicians assisted suicide, there have been many real life examples that have been acted upon this matter. One was a young woman of age 29 who was from California that moved to Portland, Oregon in search to find help for possible alternatives for her diagnosis of cancer. She knew that Oregon was one of only five states in America where “Death with Dignity” was authorized. She mentioned in an article that she is in fact not suicidal but was dying because of her tumor and decided she



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