Engl101, Final Paper

Engl101, Final Paper - Matt Hines Final Paper I...

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Matt Hines Final Paper 12/10/09 I. Introduction The recent, controversial actions of the Department of Veteran Affairs have sparked heated debate in the media and could potentially lead to fallout in the political spectrum. In August 2009, The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) unofficially reinstated the booklet “Your Life, Your Choices”, a document relating to physician assisted suicide (actively ending one’s death with the aid of a physician). The booklet’s intent is to aid veterans in making end of life decisions. Initially published in 1997 by the VA, the booklet (often referred to by its detractors as the “death booklet”) was suspended by the Bush administration in 2007. While the Obama administration did not directly reinstate the booklet, the administration’s failure to reject it has led to debate over the booklet and physician assisted suicide (PAS) as a whole in the national media. Physician assisted suicide is a complex issue in which the opposing sides have polarizing views. In any debated issue, there are topics within the issue where the two sides fundamentally disagree, both supporting their claims with reasons. These sub- topics, often called points of conflict, allow one to not only see that an issue is complex but why the issue is complex. In the case of PAS, there are 3 major points of conflict. The first argues whether one has the right to die with assistance. The two sides also fundamentally disagree on the value of human life as a patient approaches death. Lastly the regulatory system that would exist (or not exist) if PAS were to be made legal is greatly debated. However, while examining the proponent’s and opponent’s positions take for each point of conflict, it becomes clear that physician assisted suicide is a right
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every citizen should be entitled to. This essay will attempt to persuade an open-minded moderate to support physician assisted suicide. II. Historical Background of Physician Assisted Suicide Debate This section describes important events relating to the physician assisted suicide debate and how such events either progressed or digressed the movement to legalize PAS. While grassroots activism has advocated for physician assisted suicide since the 1960s, the physician assisted suicide debate had not truly begun until Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s actions gained international notoriety in the late 1980s/early 1990s. During this time, Dr. Kevorkian began illegally assisting patients in dying (with the patient’s consent). As Dr. Kevorkian continued assisting suffering patients through the early 1990s, authorities learned of Kevorkian’s actions. As a result, the ensuing legal battle between the courts and Kevorkian brought instant international attention to the physician assisted suicide debate. Partly attributed to Kevorkian’s actions in the early 1990s, the State of Oregon
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Engl101, Final Paper - Matt Hines Final Paper I...

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