15 - Legalizing PAS will open the door to abuse. No legal...

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Legalizing PAS will open the door to abuse. No legal practice is perfect; mistakes will inevitably be made. Patients will not be told about alternatives, diagnoses (of depression) will not be adequate. Some people will be helped to kill themselves who have questionable capacity, who are not terminally ill, who cannot provide true informed consent, etc. “Physician assisted suicide is no different than issuing pain medication that happens to cause someone’s death” extremely problematic Most of the worries about PAS focus on the poor and the vulnerable arguing that they would be the ones “to bear the brunt of this.” However, it may be just the opposite because the wealthy have sympathetic doctors who will work with them to hasten their death. PAS currently goes on, but we do not know how often, who it impacts most, how appropriate it is, etc. 2 SIDES OF THE LEGALIZATION DEBATE: Is there likely to be more abuse under a regime of legalization than under the current regime where it is illegal (except for Oregon) and practiced in an unregulated fashion? How do you balance the potential social costs and benefits? Legalization vs. status quo. Pro legalizationists argue that it would take the practice out of the dark, expose it to
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course D s taught by Professor F during the Spring '08 term at Columbia.

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15 - Legalizing PAS will open the door to abuse. No legal...

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