When you lose sight of the beauty of life and live in fear of the future that is ahead of you because it will be short, what choice do you have but to leave on your own terms. Everyone has the right to their own life and if someone is suffering, they have the right to die. Assisted suicide should be allowed in hospitals in the United States because it is unethical to prolong a person’s suffering, each person has a natural right to end their life, it would decrease the amount of terminally ill patients that end their lives themselves, and it has been practiced for thousands of years and should therefore still be allowed.
There are several cases and text that support and demonstrate these concepts which will be analyzed. The first thing that must be examined when talking about assisted suicide is the history and when the ideas began. Many people that believe it is unethical believe that the idea of euthanasia just recently came around, but it has been around since the Greeks. Specifically, the idea of drinking the hemlock and dying to end your life. There was even this idea of someone having the ’freedom to leave’ it allowed the ill and needy to end their lives, occasionally with the help of others (Singh).
It was even thought, a few of the doctors in Rome did help people die by using drugs that killed (Singh). It is an idea that’s been around since the Greek and Roman empires, so why is it not more available in our world today? Even in the past it was criticized heavily and mostly by people with religious affiliations claiming it desecrated the sanctity of life. Jewish and Christian philosophers did not agree with the treatment because they believed in living the entirety of life (Singh). However, who has the right to decide what the lifespan of others is, who are they to say that this is not precisely when the person is supposed to die?
Everyone is said to have control of their own life, it’s something talked about a lot in the 21st century, so if one has control over their life and they are suffering why shouldn’t they be given the right to end their life without other people shaming them. To expand on the idea of it being a natural right we look to the case of Diane Pretty. This woman was in her early 40s and suffered from motor-neurone disease. This eventually led to an inability to breath on her own and made it difficult for her to swallow.
She wanted to avoid the painful death that awaited her in her future through assisted suicide, but was denied the right by the Director of Public Prosecutions. These were her arguments that she took to the court regarding her situation: the Human Rights Act implied people should be able to take their life, the Suicide Act did not allow people to die and tormented her because she was put through awful treatments, she had her own right to say when she did not want to live anymore, and because she could not take her own life she felt she was discriminated against (Chetwynd).
After examination of her arguments, it can be seen her main point is that it is her own natural right as a human to end her life. However, unfortunately for Diane the courts rejected her case and claimed that nowhere in the Human Rights Act did it support assisted suicide. Despite the outcome of the court the case itself, it sparked debate among many people questioning whether or not it is a natural right. The matter of the fact is, it is a natural right of human beings to decide how long they live especially if they are suffering from an illness.
If a human is suffering the treatments they are going through to keep them alive are only prolonging the suffering and are therefore “inhuman and degrading. ” A case that reveals an extreme case of prolonged suffering is that of Terri Schiavo. Terri was in a vegetative state for 15 years of her life. Much debate went on about what should be done since nothing could bring her out of the vegetative state. Finally, on March 31st hospice workers removed her feeding tube. However, this did not happen until after a long legal case between Terri’s husband and her parents.
He argued that she wouldn’t have wanted artificial life support while they argued against that. It was a long court case that involved the feeding tube being removed and reinserted several times. That alone is a degrading way to treat someone in a vegetative state. They basically killed her and brought her back to life a few times because they were unable to decide if it was ethical or not. Terri Schiavo is no longer alive. However, the projects she began help to guard the rights of people who are disabled from any discrimination from doctors or hospitals.
Her dehydration, confirmed by things she supposedly said years ago, demand more protection for disabled citizens (Jost). Terri’s case inspired many people to come forth that supported assisted suicide and caused many more legal cases to pop up around the country. To focus on the idea of assisted suicide and what role it plays in our society today we should take a glimpse at medicine and how it has evolved. If we examine what medicine used to be like and compare to the medicine we have now we can see that our medicine now is better at saving people’s lives and keeping people alive.
Medicine has changed and is better at keeping people alive longer. However, the evolution of medicine has made the problem of, how to treat those who do not want to live more visible (Ogden). That is the biggest issue, we are so efficient at keeping people alive no matter the circumstances, but what if they do not want to be alive anymore? What if they are suffering and are only experiencing pain, and the treatment they are receiving is only prolonging the pain? A case that provides insight into what it is like to be suffering in a situation like that is the case of Jay Herringer.
Jay was a homosexual who was living life to the fullest until he contracted AIDS. Once having contracted AIDS Jay began to give up on life. He fell into a deep depression which led him to the only answer he thought would solve his problem, suicide. “Reasons for living, The beauty of the earth, summer, winter, spring and fall… Reasons for not living…Depressed… Tired… Don’t feel it’s worthwhile to make plans as I fear death by AIDS. Maybe death is a welcome relief. On to the next chapter” (Herringer).
This was a poem written by Jay 3 months before he was officially diagnosed with full blown AIDS. After his death, his sister did everything in her power to look into the idea of assisted suicide for the terminally ill. She believed if the option would have been there for him he would not have had to take his own life. He would not have had to suffer as long if it had been offered at the beginning. That is one of the ultimate benefits of assisted suicide, is that it would decrease the percentage of terminally ill patients that take their own life.
Assisted suicide could benefit our society today in many ways that far outweigh the negatives. It allows for people to uphold and take back their rights as human beings to be in control of their life. It also allows for people to ease the suffering they are going through rather than prolong it. It’s also a procedure that has been carried out for years and should be allowed currently. Lastly, it would significantly decrease the amount of suicides committed by terminally ill patients. That is why assisted suicides should be allowed in hospitals in the United States.