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Assisted suicide: Is it right or wrong?

Your dearly loved mother just got into a terrible car accident. She is still alive, but only physically. She still performs all involuntary bodily actions, but is unable to think, speak, or provide emotion. She justis. The doctor tells you she is in deep pain, but it is being managed through medication. She can still feel it. She is suffering, and she is alive. Would you want to pull the plug? Would you want her to live the rest of her life? There is a fine line between right and wrong. Who decides what that line is?

Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell


What is Euthanasia? According to Merriam-Webster: Euthanasia is the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.
Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell 4/29/2013

Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in the Netherlands

It is widely practiced in the Netherlands. 9% of all deaths were a result of PAS in 1990.

Dutch doctors practice euthanasia through lethal injections.

Less than 3.4% of all cases in Holland of active termination of life were physician-assisted suicide. (1990)
Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell 4/29/2013

How does the United States feel about it?

Three states have legalized Physician-Assisted Suicide
Legalized Dec. 31, 2009 Baxter v. Montana

47 States and DC consider it illegal

39 states have laws prohibiting assisted suicide Alabama, Massachusetts, Vermont, and West Virginia prohibit assisted suicide by common law Nevada, North Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming are still considered unclear on the idea.

Legalized Nov. 8, 1994 Ballot Measure 16

Legalized Nov. 4, 2008 Initiative 1000
Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell


Terri Schiavo
In 1990, at the age of 26, Terri suffered a mysterious cardio-respiratory arrest for which no cause has ever been determined. She was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy - neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. Terri was placed on a ventilator, but was soon able to breathe on her own and maintain vital function. She remained in a severely compromised neurological state and was provided a PEG tube to ensure the safe delivery of nourishment and hydration. On March 31, 2005, Terri Schindler Schiavo died of marked dehydration following more than 13 days without nutrition or hydration under the order of Circuit Court Judge, George W. Greer of the Pinellas-Pasco's Sixth Judicial Court. Terri was 41. Terris Fight

Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell


Common Pros and Cons

Individuals have a right to die Patient suffering at end-of-life


Slippery slope to legalized murder Religious concerns Living wills

Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell


Right to Die / Patient Suffering

Right to Die The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty
ACLU Amicus Brief in Vacco v. Quill
Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell 4/29/2013

What this means An individual who is at the end of their life should have the right to end their suffering. How would you feel if you were in the same boat? Is it moral?

Legalized Murder
Many people feel that allowing physicians to aide in the suicide of an patient borderline murder.

This could potentially lead to uncertain and questionable deaths.

Physicians may take it too far. Where do we draw the line?
Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell 4/29/2013

Religious Concerns
Many religions consider suicide to be immoral or wrong. Christians believe that committing suicide will condemn thee to hell. Life is a gift of God


Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell


Living Wills
Living wills may be misinterpreted.
PAS given when not wanted Vise-versa


They dont always have the intended effect. Possible motif for a power of attorney to want someone dead.
Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell 4/29/2013

Personal Thoughts
I personally am pro-choice on this matter, and it is something I feel very strongly about. If I were suffering on my death bed, I would want the opportunity to pull the plug. It would be hard to watch a loved one going through immense, unbearable pain, and I would prefer they had that wish as well. I understand this is a very touchy topic, and its hard to say whether it is right or wrong, but this is where I stand. I am a Christian, but I feel the Bible is often misinterpreted. All sins are forgivable in my opinion. I hope not to induce anger in anyone, but rather educate and share my personal opinion. I pray this is read with an open mind.
Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell 4/29/2013


Now ask yourself

Think back to the story of your mother How do you feel now? Would you pull the plug?


Would you keep her alive?

Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell 4/29/2013

Citations / References Euthanasia. n.d. 7 April 2013. <>. Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. Terri's Story. n.d. 7 April 2013. <>.


Chase Bennett - ENC3241 - Daniel Powell


Thank You