Legalize Physician Assisted Suicide

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If we legalize physician assisted suicide, will our society be willing to treat and aid patients who attempt to commit suicide due to unattended mental health issues? Or will suicide become a norm for future generations? Are we ready to trust our physicians with not only our life but also our death? Although many may argue that physician assisted suicide should be allowed in terminal cases, the possible risks and dangers that come with it are quite alarming. While people should be allowed to end their pain and suffering, we must understand we don’t have the right method to conduct or legalize physician assisted suicides without potentially harming other people along the way. Decriminalizing physician assisted suicide is likely to trigger the …show more content…
Somerville, a physician and an ethicist, suggest that if physician assisted suicide were to become legal “we would have the duty not to treat people who attempt suicide” (Boudreau and Somerville 5). The fear of suicide becoming a normal event in our society exists in the people who oppose physician assisted suicide. However, the biggest issue that emerges when so much attention is brought to the subject of PAS is the “suicide contagion” phenomenon. Jacqueline C. Harvey, Ph. D., a bioethicist, defines suicide contagion as a phenomenon in which “exposure to suicide leads to an increase in the likelihood of suicide” (Harvey 111). For example, in Oregon, where physician assisted suicide has been legal since 1997, there has been an alarming increase in suicide rates. The Oregon Health Authority claims that “after decreasing in the 1990s, suicide rates have been increasing significantly since 2000” indicating that after the 1997 “Death with Dignity Act” people were affected by the suicide contagion. It is also stated in the National Violent Death Reporting System that in 2012 the non-assisted suicide rate in Oregon was 41% higher than the national average (Millet, et al 4). In addition, Harvey mentions that after the legalization of PAS in Vermont “legislators in Vermont heard testimony about suicide contagion, as well as a wealth of evidence that PAS pressures citizens into premature death” (Harvey 111). The rates of non-assisted suicide have been proved to increase as physician assisted suicide is continuously embraced and legalized in such places. This should make us rethink about continuing to allow PAS to expand globally, since the individuals accepting such terms are not the only ones affected or impacted by

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