ASSISTED SUICIDE: WHO DECIDES WHEN YOU DIE?

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ASSISTED SUICIDE: WHO DECIDES WHEN YOU DIE?

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By: Katelyn Liston, Reporter

Suicide is a sensitive topic, but can suicide be justified? On average, there are 88 suicides per day in the United States. That’s around 40,000 suicides per year. There are about 811,000 attempted suicides per year. Recently, suicide assisted by physicians has become legal for those who meet criteria under 5 various states’ death for dignity laws, but it is considered very controversial whether or not people should have the option to legally end their own life. Despite the disputes, those who are terminally ill and qualify for the Death for Dignity law should be allowed to take their own life.

Assisted suicide is performed by giving patients a dosage of medicine, such as barbiturates, which will cause death. Eligible patients can take the medicine on their own terms, at any time  they would like. The criteria for assisted suicide in Oregon states that the patient must be: 18 years or older, an Oregon resident, able to make health care decisions, and diagnosed with a terminal disease that leaves them with a lifespan of six months or fewer. The Death for Dignity laws for Vermont, Washington, Montana, and New Mexico all have similar eligibility criteria. Doctors who practice assisted suicide in various states are protected by law and cannot be prosecuted for prescribing lethal drugs to patients who request their own death.

Terminal cancer patients suffer through fatigue, slow breathing, excessive sleep, poor nutrition,  disinterest in life and activities, tendency to drift out of consciousness, hallucinations, and more in their last few weeks of life, even with chemotherapy. Any method used to cure fatal illnesses is painful for the victims of the diseases and they suffer through the last lengthy days of their life. Drawing out death is not what humanity should plan on doing.

Heath Academy freshman Natalie Harrison says, “I think it honestly would be perfectly fine; it isn’t physically harming anyone but the person who is doing what they want with their own life. Most of the people who sign up for the lethal injections have terminal conditions and [this option is] definitely much less painful.”

Compassion and Choice, a non profit organization, has donated $7 million to expand the Death for Dignity law to other states, but there are still many states against the movement. The law will continue to take place in Montana, New Mexico, Washington, Vermont, and Oregon, while the criteria remains the same.

Sophomore Jake Wilson says, “A person should be able to end their own [life] on their own term because it’s their body and their choice. If ending your own life before a vicious disease does is wrong, I don’t know what’s right.”

 

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