To sanction the taking of innocent human life is to contradict a primary purpose of law in an ordered society. A law or court decision allowing assisted suicide would demean the lives of vulnerable patients and expose them to exploitation by those who feel they are better off dead. Such a policy would corrupt the medical profession, whose ethical code calls on physicians to serve life and never to kill. The voiceless or marginalized in our society — the poor, the frail elderly, racial minorities, millions of people who lack health insurance — would be the first to feel pressure to die.
What about competent, terminally ill people who say they really want assisted suicide?
Suicidal wishes among the terminally ill are no less due to treatable depression than the same wishes among the able-bodied. When their pain, depression and other problems are addressed, there is generally no more talk of suicide. If we respond to a death wish in one group of people with counseling and suicide prevention, and respond to the same wish in another group by offering them lethal drugs, we have made our own tragic choice as a society that some people’s lives are objectively not worth protecting.
How does cost enter into this issue?
In an era of cost control and managed care, patients with lingering illnesses may be branded an economic liability, and decisions to encourage death can be driven by cost. As Acting U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger warned in urging the Supreme Court to uphold laws against assisted suicide: “The least costly treatment for any illness is lethal medication.”
Why are people with disabilities worried about assisted suicide?
Many people with disabilities have long experience with prejudicial attitudes on the part of able-bodied people, including physicians, who say they would “rather be dead than disabled.” Such prejudices could easily lead families, physicians and society to encourage death for people who are depressed and emotionally vulnerable as they adjust to life with a serious illness or disability. To speak here of a “free choice” for suicide is a dangerously misguided abstraction.
What is the view of the medical profession?
The American Medical Association holds that “physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.” The AMA, along with the American Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Association and dozens of other medical groups, has urged the Supreme Court to uphold laws against assisted suicide, arguing that the power to assist in taking patients’ lives is “a power that most health care professionals do not want and could not control.
Restrictions on Guns for the Sake of Life
“Our cause is just, our cause is real, our cause is now!” cried out Mayor Wellington Webb. While watching the television news, I heard the mayor say this. I also found out that over the past five years one hundred and fifteen homicides occurred each year. Obviously the harmful situation involving guns is growing to new horrible heights. The news show was about gun control. If the mayor acknowledges that there is a problem, we as the citizens should also.
Restricting the right to bear arms will undoubtedly make any community safer. However, to do so would take a lot more than just prohibiting the sale of guns. Many people, at least in my community, own guns. Granted, many of these guns are used for hunting, but they are still guns. The authorities would have to take everyone’s guns away to really make a community safer. I believe that it would make a community safer because guns kill, accidentally and on purpose.
Many people argue that they have guns for protection–protection from the other people who carry guns. They defend their possession of guns saying they can use their guns to kill an intruder. They also argue that their guns are used to hunt and feed their families. Although these defenses may be true, I am brought back to an incident that occurred last year where I lived. A father of a couple of the girls at my school was hunting with his son and he accidentally killed him. This is a terrible tragedy, but it brings us face to face with the reality that even in the most innocent of situations, if a gun is involved there is a possibility of death.
Originally, guns were not intended to protect; they were intended to kill. Made for wars, they were weapons of war, in which they were used to fight enemies and to help a country be more powerful, and they are still used for this today. However, today we are fighting a different war. We used to speak of waging war; today we are waging war. This war is against people. Kids are killing kids on rampages through schools. Gang members use guns to kill someone that they just don’t like, and then the other gangs must retaliate, which makes it a never-ending cycle. The intent of a gun, whether to protect (as many people say) or not, is to kill someone else.