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The Popularity of Assisted Suicide?

Questionable Popularity of Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide

A survey of U.S. oncologists suggests that support for euthanasia and assisted suicide in this profession has declined dramatically in recent years. The survey polled 3299 members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 1998. It found 22.5% support for physician-assisted suicide for a terminally ill patient with prostate cancer in unremitting pain, compared to 45.5% support in 1994. Euthanasia in this situation was supported by 6.5%, compared to 22.7% in 1994.

Surgical oncologists were more likely to support these practices; Catholics, those who view themselves as religious, and those who say they have sufficient time to talk to dying patients about end-of-life care were less likely to do so.

Those who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide are also less willing to increase the dose of morphine for a patient who has unremitting pain despite previous pain relief efforts. “This reticence,” they note, “probably reflects fear that increasing opioid dose increases the risks for respiratory depression and death and might be construed as a form of euthanasia. This view may be encouraged by proponents of euthanasia who have argued that there is no difference between increasing morphine for pain relief and euthanasia.” The authors urge increased efforts “to educate physicians on the ethical and legal acceptability of increasing narcotics for pain control, even at the risk of respiratory depression and death” [E. Emanuel et al., “Attitudes and Practices of U.S. Oncologists regarding Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide,” 133 Annals of Internal Medicine (3 October 2000) 527-532 at 530].

Numerous studies have established that the Americans most directly affected by the issue of physician-assisted suicide — those who are frail, elderly and suffering from terminal illness — are also more opposed to legalizing the practice than others are:

* A poll conducted for the Washington Post on March 22-26, 1996, found 50% support for legalizing physician-assisted suicide (Washington A18) Voters aged 35-44 supported legalization, 57% to 33%. But these figures reversed for voters aged 65 and older, who opposed legalization 54% to 38%. Majority opposition was also found among those with incomes under $15,000 (54%), and black Americans (70%).

* An August 1993 Roper poll funded by the Hemlock Society and other euthanasia supporters indicated that voters aged 18-29 supported “physician-aided suicide” 47% to 35%; voters aged 60 and older opposed it 45% to 35%.

Euthanasia: Is It Right or Wrong?

Many people may say there is a fine line between right and wrong, but when the choice comes to end someone’s life in order to end their suffering, who’s to say where that line lies? When it comes to assisted suicide, for me that line is drawn on the side where assisted suicide is right but only under certain circumstances. “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share” There are several different types of euthanasia. The first is called “voluntary euthanasia” which is where the patient is willing and wanting to die. The second is called “involuntary euthanasia” which is where the victim is unwilling and not wanting to die. The third type of euthanasia is called “active euthanasia” which is where the victim or doctor uses drugs to end the life of the victim. The fourth type of euthanasia is called “passive euthanasia” which is where the victim is killed by withdrawing the necessary needs to stay alive, such as water, food, drugs or medical surgical procedures. The fifth type of euthanasia is called “physician-assisted suicide” which is where the doctor is the one killing the patients. The last type of euthanasia is called “assisted suicide” which is suicide that is aided by another person. ( In my view, I think any type of suicide is wrong. Under certain circumstances, it’s understandable, although still wrong. Studies show, that the top five reasons given by patients who elected physician assisted suicide in 2005 were: fear of decreasing ability to do enjoyable activities, fear of loss of dignity, fear of losing autonomy, fear of losing control of bodily functions and fear of being a burd… … middle of paper … …ason is one I’m not sure I like too much, because dogs and humans are two totally different things, although both are living, I believe that dogs share a universal soul while humans are each individual. One last argument is: “Keeping people alive costs a lot of money, which could be used to save other people’s lives” this argument also bothers me a bit. It’s true that keeping people alive costs money, but that money is FOR keeping people alive. Although the people being kept alive aren’t willing to live, that alone counters my debate. ( When it comes to a family member or a loved one of your own, how would you feel about having to be put in a position where you have to choose life or death for that person? What would you pick? Even if that person wanted to die, where do you draw the line?

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