Physician Assisted Suicides

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Controversial Legal Issues
Taking Sides Book: Issue Five
December 4, 2012

Physician Assisted Suicides
In analyzing the question presented in issue five, “...whether Washington's prohibition against 'causing' or 'aiding' a suicide offends the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution” (Katsh 97), it is distinct that it does not. The parties in the issue are the doctors who practice medicine in Washington and the State of Washington. Prohibition of physician assisted suicides is not unconstitutional and can be evidenced by the recent reaffirmation on behalf of the people and the risks that would result from the legalizing of it. In Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment it states that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Throughout many cases in the past it has been seen that the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause are objective and “...deeply rooted in this nation's history and tradition...”(Katsh 101). Yet no matter how much our nation has evolved this is a decision that is still very rooted in our nation's values. The States' assisted suicide bans have in recent years been reexamined and reaffirmed. It is clear that because of advances in medicine and technology more and more people are dying in medical institutions. People want to keep the dignity at the end of life and as a result they have remained firm in their decision of the ban, but have created “living wills” and have permitted refusal of life-sustaining medical treatment as ways to give them more autonomy. The many cases have also shown that “many of...
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