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United States

The Right To Die

March 21, 2016

    Assisted suicide is not an immoral or unethical way to die. It is a person’s right to decide whether they would like to live in pain or die in dignity. The topic of assisted suicide began to gain popularity in 1990, when Jack Kevorkian helped assist the suicide of Janet Adkins. Then, in 1999, assisted suicide attracted further attention all around the United States, after Kevorkian was convicted for helping people commit suicide. Assisted suicide is the process in which a physician or another person helps to cause the death of someone who is terminally ill. Those who believe Kevorkian is wrong for what he did say, “assisted suicide is morally wrong and violates the basic tenets of medicine” (Zamichow and Murray). Though, assisted suicide, in fact, is a humane way to die for the terminally ill.
    There are people in high positions of the US government, including politicians and judges, that are blocking laws that permit assisted suicide. In 1990, Michigan did not have an official law making assisted suicide illegal. This enabled Kevorkian to assist people’s suicides without successful legal prosecution, until 1992 when the Michigan legislature passed a bill outlawing assisted suicide. Kevorkian, like me, strongly believed that when someone is terminally ill, they have the right to die. According to a 2015 poll from Gallup, 68% of Americans also support the idea of assisted suicide. Yet, assisted suicide is only legal in few states around the United States of America.
    Assisted suicide is a very humane way to die. People with terminally ill diseases cannot have their condition improved. Therefore, the people that are faced with these terrible diagnoses should be able to decide when to end their life. These people can be living in chronic and constant pain. Kevorkian recognized the need for a humane effective way for the suicides to occur. This lead Kevorkian to invent the Thanatron (In Greek, Instrument of Death). Kevorkian was able to obtain all the materials required for the low price of 45 dollars. He premedicated the patient before administering the poison. This caused the patient to feel no pain as they died. Also, Kevorkian’s design enabled patients to administer the painkiller and poison to themselves. This allowed the patient to make the ultimate decision in deciding their fate. Kevorkian set it up so the people could die quickly, painlessly, and humanely.
    Many people are opposed to assisted suicide because of the Hippocratic Oath. According to The Encyclopedia of Elder Care the Hippocratic oath is a text that was published over 2,000 years ago and since has been revised many times. There is one line in the oath that states doctors should not poison their patients. However, people do not realize this line is really saying doctors should not participate in plots to murder their patients. The oath does not say not to perform assisted suicide. The oath is 2,000 years old and should not affect our decisions today. Assisted suicide should be allowed today and is a necessity in the modern world.
    Assisted suicide is a kind way for the terminally ill to end their lives. Like Kevorkian, I believe the terminally ill should have the option to end their life when they want. I think people should not make their decisions based off a 2,000 year old text that is constantly being revised. Until 1998, Kevorkian was prosecuted 4 times and he was  not convicted successfully. Then, in 1998, Michigan passed a law to prevent Kevorkian continuing his assisted suicide campaign. Kevorkian continued to help people end their lives. Then, in 1999, Kevorkian was convicted of second degree murder and delivery of illegal substances. Kevorkian was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He died in 2011, a strong believer in the need for legality of assisted suicide. As of today, only 5 states allow assisted suicide. This means if you live in 1 of the other 45 states and are terminally ill, you do not have the right to end your life. Within the past few years, it has become evident that citizens of the United States would like to see a change, yet the Supreme Court has done nothing.

Works Cited
Dugan, Andrew. "In U.S., Support Up for Doctor-Assisted Suicide." Gallup. N.p., 27 May 2015.
    Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
Gostin, Lawrence. "Assisted Suicide." Infobase. The Encyclopedia of Elder Care, 26 Apr. 2016.
    Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
"Jack Kevorkian Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.
Zamichow, Nora, and Ken Murray. "Dying Ethically." Los Angeles Times. 28 Dec. 2014: A.20.
    SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

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