1-Minute Overview Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal?
About This Topic
The twin issues of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide have sparked intense debate over the years, from Jack Kevorkian, to the case of Terry Schiavo, to the 2006 Supreme Court ruling on Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. Doctors, lawyers, philosophers, and religious leaders have been debating the "right to die" issue for over two millennia. This site is geared to give readers an overview of the modern debate, offering "pro" and "con" responses to central questions in the words of the actual proponents and opponents of the debate.
PRO Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide
CON Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide
PRO: Proponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide believe that it is the compassionate choice, and is supported by the same constitutional safeguards that guarantee such rights as marriage, procreation, and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment. Proponents feel that the language of the often-cited Hippocratic Oath negates the reality of terminal disease, and believe that terminally ill people should have the right to end their pain and suffering with a quick, dignified death.
CON: Opponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide worry about a "slippery slope" from euthanasia to murder, arguing that any test to determine between voluntary and non-voluntary cases will prove faulty. They also cite the medical community's Hippocratic Oath, arguing that doctors have a responsibility to keep their patients alive. Many opponents fear that legalizing euthanasia will unfairly target the poor and disabled, groups with little access to advanced, possibly life-saving medical care.