Assisted Suicide-Rebuttal

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Rebuttal: Physician Assisted Suicide

Rebuttal: Physician Assisted Suicide

Assisted suicide has been a controversial topic since long before this past election. Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is when a physician gives a patient, usually terminally ill, the means to end their life by self-administered lethal injection or an overdose of drugs (Marker). PAS should not be confused with euthanasia, which is when a person other than the patient causes the death. Ben Mattlin’s article, “Suicide by Choice? Not So Fast,” argues that the Massachusetts measure to make physician assisted suicide legal in cases for those who have six months or less to live, should not be supported. Mattlin contends that passing the “right to die,” will lead to abuse and coercion of patients that feel forced to end their lives (Mattlin, 2012).

Mattlin’s article cites that in Oregon, Washington, and Montana, where physician assisted suicides have been made legal, there has been scant evidence of abuse and in Massachusetts alone there were over 200,000 cases of elder abuse in 2010 (Mattlin, 2012). He uses two seemingly similar points to support his own rationalization and applies a scare tactic to substitute fear for reason (Moore, 2009). Mattlin bases his claim on comparing the abuse of physician assisted death in other states to elder abuse in Massachusetts, committing a rhetorical analogy. This is also an example of the slippery slope fallacy (Moore, 2009). Since elderly abuse is already so prominent, “how will assisted suicide be abused if it becomes legal?” While the context of abuse is similar, Mattlin states nothing to support that elder abuse leads to assisted death abuse but implies that PAS abuse will rise if legalized. The Massachusetts measure would apply to those having terminal illnesses with six month or less to live, however, Mattlin uses his own experience as a sufferer of disbilitating spinal muscular atrophy to argue his opinion. This is an...
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