Is physician assisted suicide morally permissible
The discussion is extra credit (2 points), but you must answer it like you would for a regular assignment to receive the points.
For this final week, you watched the documentary, How to Die in Oregon, which examines Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and follows patients with terminal illnesses as they deliberate and, in some cases, proceed with the option of physician-assisted suicide.
Background clarification: Euthanasia is different from physician-assisted suicide. Euthanasia is not legal in the United States (but is in a few countries, like Belgium). For euthanasia, the doctor actively administers the life-ending drug to the consenting patient (e.g., by IV, for example). Physician-assisted suicide, on the other hand, is when the physician prescribes a life-ending drug to a terminally ill patient, but the patient must take it themselves. Other people can help them prepare the cocktail of drugs for easy ingestion, but if they administer to the patient, then it is effectively murder under U.S. law. Likewise, if a terminally-ill patient is unable to administer the drug to themselves, then do not qualify for physician-assisted suicide.
For our final discussion, you will follow a similar format to the abortion discussion in terms of the moral and legal divide.
- Examine whether you think physician-assisted suicide is (A) morally permissible, and (B) whether it ought to be legally permissible
- Lastly, you are encouraged to bring in any of the material we’ve covered this term to support your answer. If you watched the film, please include at least one reference to it.