Special Counsel for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and Senior Counsel for Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor
Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"
"I believe there must be limits on our autonomy when our decisions affect others. In my opinion, it is not possible for physician-assisted suicide to be legalized without affecting the lives of many people, and especially those assisting in the suicides and their families. For example, if we legalize assisted suicide, we are sanctioning suicide as a legitimate and rational response to certain events. We are saying that competent, rational people can find life so miserable that death is preferred. In effect, we demean the significance of life as nothing more than a pleasure versus pain calculation. It is simply a utilitarian calculation, and a calculation approved of by the government, physicians, and families whom participate. As a consequence, people will begin to accept suicide as a natural option, as opposed to an unnatural act. It will become easier for medical providers and victims to accept the taking of life without a feeling of guilt. Physicians and other participants in assisted suicide will eventually become callous to the taking of human life, and possibly even find it comforting that they were able to provide relief to an ailing person. This will lead to more acts of assisted suicide, and an expansion of the situations in which physicians are willing to perform the act. "
"Physician-Assisted Suicide: Legality and Morality," www.levinlaw.com (accessed Jan. 7, 2012)
Experts MDs, JDs (Lawyers), PhDs and Religious Leaders with significant involvement in end-of-life issues. [Because end-of-life dilemmas require medical, ethical, legal, and in some case religious considerations, we view MDs, PhDs with a bio-ethical focus, and JDs/religious leaders with significant involvement as "experts" in the euthanasia debate.] [Note: Experts definition varies by site.]