April 21, 2010
WP4 Rough Draft
The Audience that I chose to write for is the reader’s of a contemporary/news-orientated magazine such as Time Magazine. I chose to write in the form of an opinion-piece so that I could be more informal and try to relate to my audience.
One’s Right is Not One’s Obligation
Imagine if you were in unbearable pain, hooked up to 20 tubes, your body is being kept alive by means of machines, and your family is standing by watching you suffer in our final weeks of life. Your dignity is diminishing, any quality of life you once had is now masked by this not so sought after scenario you call life. Is this something you would wish to prolong? I’d expect almost anyone would answer no to this questions, yet a large group of people are going through a similar experience while you are reading this article. The current U.S. government, as well as many other governments around this world, have refused to recognize this experience as something that needs to be addressed. Terminally ill patients, as well as their families have been bringing about the topic of legalizing physician-assisted suicide for decades; yet, it is still not legal in 47 of the 50 U.S. states. Many reasons for this is that the public has been given skewed claims as to what physician-assisted suicide entails, and this needs to be changed. Given the correct criteria, and special care a plan could be devised to make legalizing physician-assisted suicide a very feasible option for the U.S. government.
So what exactly is physician-assisted suicide? Well, according to Medicinenet.com, physician-assisted suicide is “the voluntary termination of one's own life by administration of a lethal substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician.” Although that is the “technical” definition, what physician-assisted suicide brings to the table is so much more. First, let me clear up a few misconceptions about what physician-assisted suicide entails. For one, it does not allow a physician to take the initiative to kill a patient; it is the patient who takes the initiative. It also does not giver permission for a person to commit suicide; actually suicide is legal in most jurisdictions currently. Families will not be allowed to take the initiative to administer euthanasia, nor will anyone other than the patient seeking it. If the patient is not in a competent, unaltered state of mind they will not be able to receive the assistance in their suicide. Also, if it were to be legalized, a misconception is that it will be sought after by a large population, when in actuality it is sought after by a only a very small population, even in areas where it is currently legal. Ultimately, what physician-assisted suicide entails is giving power to people to have control over their OWN bodies.
In areas of the country where physician-assisted suicide has been made legal, it has proved to be a very successful thing. For example, In October of 1997, the state of Oregon adopted the Death with Dignity Act. What this act entails, is that terminally ill patients who are given 6 months or less to live to obtain lethal doses of drugs to end their lives at home. The physician is not the one administering the drugs; they are only the ones giving prescriptions for them. Although this Act has been put in place for over 10 years, only a small amount of people have sought the lethal drugs, and an even smaller amount of people have actually used them. According to Medicinenet.com, “ Many patients have said that what they want most is a choice about how their lives will end, a finger on the remote control, as it were.” If this is all a patient truly desires, why have more states not adopted the plan of legalizing physician-assisted suicide? The reason that this act hasn’t been spread to the entire country is because of the oppositions stake in the influence of the public. The main opposition...