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If someone is suffering and asking to die, do we let them? Euthanasia is the act of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. The controversy surrounding it is whether or not a person with a terminal illness has the right to decide how and when to end their life (“Ethical problems of euthanasia”). Euthanasia would be an option for people who suffer from terminal illness. There are many terminal illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, AIDS, and liver disease (Zanni and Browne).Euthanasia dates back to 500 BC, the Ancient Greek and Romans century. They did not have a certain belief of human life, but Hippocratic Oath prohibited doctors from giving “a deadly drug to anybody, not even if asked for” (“History of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide”). In the 13th century, Christians and Jews were against euthanasia. In the 1800’s, suicide and assisted was prohibited. Then in the 1900’s, bills to pass assisted suicide were denied and assisted suicide organizations were founded. In 1977, eight states have Right to Die bills and in the 2000’s, many Deaths with Dignity bills were passed making it legal in several states and countries (“History of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide”).Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) is legal in 28 countries. Such as Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, and several states in America (procon.org).Many religions believe that suicide is a sin. The Catholic church believes that life is a gift from God and should not be shortened in any way (“Religious Groups’ Views on End-of-Life Issues”). One of the commandments is “do not kill” so giving someone a lethal dose of medication is assisting them in suicide and killing them. The Mormon Church, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, as well as Judaism are also against PAS (“Religious Groups’ Views on End-of-Life Issues”). People should have the right to die with dignity. It is their own body and they deserve the self-respect of ending their suffering on their own terms (Diaconescu). On the other hand, the website Living with Dignity says that the right to die implies a duty to kill.PAS would benefit the health care spending implications. Canada’s health system would save up to $139 million per year (“Euthanasia could save Canada millions in healthcare costs”).  Canada could result in substantial savings (“Cost analysis of medical assistance in dying in Canada”).More arguments for the legalization of PAS are patients should not be suffering at the end of their lives. “Americans should enjoy a right guaranteed in the European Declaration of Human Rights- the right not to be forced to suffer” (“Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments”). Another argument is a living will which provides the wishes of a patients end of care treatment. Doctors have to respect that will and do what it says. For example, if a man does now want to be given a test tube, even though his wife requests that he gets one, because of the living will where he stated that he did not want to receive one, he will not get one. (“Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments”).PAS can be a slippery slope to legalized murder. Voluntary euthanasia can lead to involuntary euthanasia. Voluntary- when death is caused upon request of the suffering patient, involuntary- when euthanasia is performed on a person who is able to provide informed consent, but does not because they were not asked (Diaconescu). For example, Belgium had strict safeguards regarding euthanasia, but it now allows euthanasia for children with incurable diseases, regardless of their age (“Arguments against euthanasia”).Arguments against PAS are social groups are at risk of abuse, Hippocratic oath, and the prohibition of killing (“Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments”). Espejo and Diaconescu mention the case of Dr. J. Kevorkian who was sentenced to murder because he helped patients end their lives. When several of his patients died using his lethal medication he was sent to court but was not charged with murder because there were no laws banning assisted suicide. Kevorkian was later temporally banned from his practices, but would still continue to practice assisted suicide. Eventually, he was charged and found guilty of murder. This case caused recognition to assisted suicide and courts would decide if Euthanasia is constitutional. Espejo talks about two cases that would decide the outcome of the legalization of assisted suicide. The first case he talks about is Washington State vs Glucksberg. A group of doctors argued that the right to die is protected under the Fourteenth Amendment and Washington State’s prohibition on physician-assisted suicide (PAS) should be removed. The court ruled that this ban was indeed unconstitutional.  The second case was Quill vs Vacco which followed the same principals as Washington State vs Glucksberg, but the ban in New York State ruled that physician-assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that assisted suicide is not a constitutional right, but let the state governments decide what laws they want surrounding assisted suicide. This ruling protected Death with Dignity Act in Oregon making PAS legal in the state.Diaconescu explains the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide. Euthanasia is when the physician gives the patient a lethal medication himself while assisted suicide is when the patient gives themselves the medication which was recommended by the doctor. She also distinguishes the three forms of euthanasia: voluntary, non-voluntary, and involuntary. Voluntary is when death is caused with request for the person, non-voluntary is when someone ends the life of a person who cannot choose between living and dying, and involuntary euthanasia is when a person is able to provide consent but does not because they were not asked. She talks about how religion ties in with PAS because one of the commandments is “do not kill” so when a physician gives their patient lethal medication they are contributing in the act of killing them. Some religions believe that God will take you when the time is right and that suicide is a sin making PAS a hard subject to talk about. Tinker says that the End of Life Option Act went into effect in 2016 in California. There were 111 cancer patients that used a prescribed lethal medication to end their life. Sixty of them were women and fifty-one were men. He also states that the median age of time of death was 73, most patients were white, and enrolled in hospice care. The End of Life Option Act in California allows a mentally stable adult who has a terminal illness to end their life with lethal medication prescribed by the doctor. The patient has to give two verbal responds and a written response to confirm that they still want to go through with Euthanasia. Espejo and Diaconescu mention the Death with Dignity Act that was passed in Oregon which is similar to the law in California. Tinker mentions a story of a woman who went through this and moved to Oregon so she can pass away when she was ready. Tinker talks more about statistics and what the people were like who underwent assisted suicide while Espejo and Diaconescu talk about the legalization of it in Oregon. They all talk about a law that was passed that deals with assisted suicide. Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada. As well as serval states in the U.S like Oregon and California. France and the U.K are debating bills that would allow assisted suicide. Ross, Espejo, and Diaconescu talk about the legalization of euthanasia and what bills the government are trying to pass that deal with the right to die. Ross and Tinker both include the story of Brittany Maynard who was a 29-year-old woman who moved to Oregon so she could legally end her life. She appeared on television and wrote articles to discuss her decision. Ever since then, six states have proposed right to die laws. Euthanasia has become so common in the Netherlands that they opened a mobile clinic to be dispatched to people’s house. At first, it was for people that were terminally ill and dying, but now they are able to perform euthanasia for babies and minors. Children can undergo treatment with parents’ consent. Although 90 percent of people in Amsterdam support assisted suicide, there are some problems with it. Accountability is a problem because a doctor must report the cause of death to the coroner which then is reviewed by the Euthanasia Committees. The review happens after the patient has died and its purpose is to determine if the doctor can be charged with a crime. The committee says that about 5 cases per year are illegal since 2002. Another problem is that vulnerable people go to assisted suicide and the doctors don’t reject and ask them how they could help. Critics say that they think that instead of doctors helping patients commit suicide, they should offer better suicide prevention. Ross also talks about the case of Jack Kevorkian as mentioned in Espejo and Diaconescu’s Articles. Kevorkian helped 130 people end their life and brought attention to assisted suicide in America.      Ross discusses that the Netherlands are lenient with the right to die law causing some people to turn to assisted suicide for the wrong reasons. Ross states “Critics say there Is no way to legalize assisted suicide without accepting the risk that vulnerable people will be pushed to their deaths- by the health care system, by their own guilt or abusive family members or caregivers.”  Wolpert talks about his own experience with depression and wanting to die. He ended up in the hospital because he wanted to die and was thinking about the option of assisted suicide. It was a long battle but he was able to get better with the help of medication and therapy. He says that “Having depression doesn’t mean you are going to die. It can hit you when you are young and healthy, with the whole of your life ahead of you.”  The End of Life Option Act and the Death with Dignity Act allows people ages 18 and older suffering from a terminal illness to take part in euthanasia, but does it state whether or not depression is considered a terminal illness? However, Tinker shows that everyone who ended their life with the End of Life Option had an illness not relating to depression. Diaconescu states the arguments for euthanasia to be legal, one of which was that people have the right to dignity. Depression ties into this because we ask the question of “do we let them end their life because they are depressed?” “Is depression a terminal illness?”Zitter said that she doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea of helping someone end their life due to the patient having depression. She shares her experience with her first case of a patient wanting assisted suicide. The patient was not terminally ill, but had family problems and wanted to punish his sister. Zitter was able to prescribe an anti-depressant before he continued with the procedure.  Wolpert talks about how depression is not a terminal illness. He also was in the same position as Zitter’s patient and was able to get help. Zitter talked to her colleagues about how to handle euthanasia and many of them try to do everything they can before getting to lethal medication. The patients want an end and the doctors respect that. The End of Life Option Act in California was discussed by Espejo and Diaconescu. It took several court cases until the bill was passed. Jessica Zitter is a doctor who works in California and had to deal with the euthanasia bill being passed and helping patients with that. With all this being said there are still many things that need to be explored within euthanasia. Will PAS ever be legal in all states and countries? Are there any active bills surrounding euthanasia? As of February 2017, there are 5 states that physician-assisted suicide is legal in, 37 states have laws against assisted suicide, 3 states prohibit assisted suicide by common law, and 4 states have no specific laws regarding PAS (State-by-State Guide to Physician-Assisted Suicide). Also, Deahtwithdignity.org is a website that shows what states are doing surrounding Death with Dignity laws. Another thing that needs to be explored is what the family members of the patients think about this whole thing. What was their experience with it? Do they think PAS was the best option for their family member? Did it cost a lot?A big reason why euthanasia is illegal is because of religion and moral values. What do religious people think of euthanasia? Is PAS really that unmoral? How do we bring awareness to PAS? Physician-assisted suicide is very controversial and it will be interesting to see what will come of it in the future. 

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