Murder is a strong word. It is the killing of a human being that is usually thought out or planned, in some cases it is used for vengeance, and is against the law (Oxford English Dictionary). Any definition found that is associated with murder is always negative. Whether used for vengeance or own personal gain, murder is corrupt in the eyes of the law and certain individuals. If this is the case, is assisted suicide truly murder? This topic is so controversial in the areas of religion, law-making, and own personal beliefs. The answer to this question is simple, however: assisted suicide is in no case murder. It falls under none of the categories used to describe what murder is. Assisted suicide is a contradiction of murder because unlike murder assisted suicide is used to help a person. It’s a choice a person makes, it’s not a situation that is out of the persons control. When it comes down to it a person should be able to make their own decisions when its regarding their own lives. No law or people should stand in the way of this basic human right.
Assisted suicide provides an option for those with incurable diseases, this means they are given a short prognosis to live. Many times, these patients with such diseases are unable to live their lives the way they once had due to certain obstacles they are faced with from the illness. In other words, similar to murder they have no control on their outcome of life. The murder in this situation is the disease itself. The disease strips the person of any decisions they may have over their life and eventually takes the life away from the patient. Assisted suicide, however; provides an option where a person is given the opportunity to take control of their lives. An example of this action would be the case of a 29yr old named Brittany Maynard. Maynard was given the news that she had about six months to live after revealing a tumor that took up more than half of the brain. She stated, “I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms.” This patient was aware that there was nothing left to do in her situation but wanted to take control of her own life and die with whatever dignity she may have left. Just like in Brittany Maynard’s case, all patients should be allowed to be given this choice. Making decisions that directly affect one’s life is the most basic type of freedom. This choice should not be affected by other people and their beliefs. Assisted suicide is used as a resource for those who might not have a chance to get better, and who are sadly slowly dying. This decision is hard enough to make and no one should be involved in this decision except for the person themselves.
Assisted suicide is a choice to help those who are ready to die, while murder is taking the life of someone who is not ready to die. When thinking of murder, one often thinks of a harsh or violent situation when a person takes the life away from another. Assisted suicide is in no way similar to this. The patients are kept in a nice facility and is often surrounded by their loved ones. Assisted suicide is a choice that a person can willingly make while murder is the complete opposite. Murder is also against the law anywhere you go, its morally corrupt for one to commit this act and will result in this person going to jail. Although assisted suicide is not legal in every state it’s still legal in some. With this being said assisted suicide is not unlawful and will not result in any prosecution. Murder is also used as a way for people to take out their frustration on others in most cases. Their acts are driven by anger, vengeance, and violence. Assisted suicide is not used as this. Although the circumstances may not be the best for the person, they make the decisions themselves not others, this decision is made based on their own personal desires and beliefs. Assisted suicide and murder are two completely different things and should not even be thought of as in the same category.
The reason this topic is so controversial is mainly because of two reasons. One being the role the physician would have to play in their patients’ death and the pressure this option may cause a patient to have (Lagay). For many years now physicians held the role as a healer in the medical field. For a physician to aid in this activity of assisted suicide some believe it goes against this traditional belief of the physician’s role. It is also argued that with this option being available to patients it can cause them pressure. One might feel obligated to end their lives to help ease their family members or if they might feel burdensome. These two factors play a huge role when a state is deciding to make this legal or not. However, the physicians role in this scenario is nothing like a murderer. Physicians’ roles are more than just a healer, they are an advocate for their patients which means they help their patient in any way they can. A murderer commits a violent act for own personal gain and never thinks about the persons desires or wants. The physician on the other hand does exactly what the patient wants and puts any of their own personal beliefs aside. Unlike a murderer, a doctor is there for the patient and will do what is best for them.
As a doctor, one’s job is to help patients in any means possible, both mentally and physically. But what if the patient they were treating had no chance of recovery? They are never able to live the lives they once had and are never able to be truly healthy. What if for the patient staying alive was worse than death itself? A doctor in this situation has no control of their patient’s well-being, it’s the idea that when it’s their time to go they go. Again, in this situation the true murderer is the disease, not the doctor nor patient. The disease controls this person’s life and then takes it from them. When the patient is being told that there are no chances of getting better, and all they can do is to wait as they suffer for their lives to come to an end, this is when assisted suicide is introduced. It gives an option to those who don’t have any. Living in a hospital bed suffering, waiting for your life to come to end isn’t truly living and for patients is a fate worse than death. In some cases, this isn’t true, and patients prefer to spend what little time they have left with their loved ones. But in other cases, being alive and going through this sort of pain is horrible. In these cases, assisted suicide should come into play, but only if the patient sees to it.
Assisted suicide is an opportunity that a patient has when they are close to death. It provides a safe and nonviolent way for a person to go, rather than doing it themselves they are provided with professional help and it is painless and error free. Murder on the other hand is violent and very traumatic. For these reasons assisted suicide is not murder. They are not taken from this world without their consent and they are given time to say their last goodbyes and leave this world on their own terms. Not by the terms set by others. When considering assisted suicide, the patient must do whatever is best for them and themselves only. Making a decision like this is a monumental one and one’s decision should not be affected from any other parties. No one wants to die, but in extreme circumstances assisted suicide is a fate better that waiting in suffering for your life to end.
- Lagay, Faith. “Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Law and Professional Ethics.” Journal of Ethics | American Medical Association, American Medical Association, 1 Jan. 2003, https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/physician-assisted-suicide-law-and-professional-ethics/2003-01.
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- “Assisted Suicide.” Assisted Suicide – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/assisted-suicide.
- Brazier, Yvette. “Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: What Are They and What Do They Mean?” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 17 Dec. 2018, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182951.php#euthanasia-and-assisted-suicide-.
- Maynard, Brittany. “My Right to Death with Dignity at 29.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 Nov. 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/07/opinion/maynard-assisted-suicide-cancer-dignity/index.html.