The Ultimate Choice for a Terminally Ill Patient

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The Ultimate Choice for a Terminally Ill Patient
“I’m going to die Monday at 6:15pm.” These were the words of Marc Weide’s mother when she chose euthanasia after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. In an astonishingly direct portrayal of his mother’s last days leading up to her appointment, Weide quotes his mother regarding the option of chemo-therapy, “I’m not going bald - I don’t want people saying, ‘How sad, that beautiful hair is all gone.’ Never” (Theguardian.com). The option for one to choose their own end to this life is controversial. There are many people who support physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, but there are also many people who oppose the concept and say that it is a “slippery slope” to handling other vulnerable communities (namely, the disabled). Personally, I feel like it is a terminally ill person’s right to decide how their life ends; especially if they have 6 or less months to live. The autonomy of a terminally ill patient choosing when, where, with whom, and how to end their own life is why physician-assisted suicide should be made legal on a federal level in the United States.

Mrs. Weide was one of the approximately 2,500 Dutch patients who were killed by euthanasia in 2008 (Telegraph.co.uk); The Netherlands is one of ten nations around the world that have legalized assisted suicide. In the United States, euthanasia (the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain or suffering) is illegal in all states, but physician-assisted suicide (the practice of a physician providing a competent, terminally ill patient with a prescription for a lethal dose of medication, upon the patient’s request, which the patient intends to use to end his or her own life) is legal in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Vermont. Constitutionally, the US Supreme Court decided in 1997 that they would not prohibit physician-assisted suicide outright, but would leave the decision up to individual states...
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