their methods. The surveyed cohorts are narrow or biased, with low response rates. More important, questions are frequently worded poorly and abstractly in a confusing manner. For instance, they often combine terminating medical treatments with euthanasia or ask whether euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide is never ethically justified. Furthermore, many of the questions use multiple hypothetical propositions which require leaps of imagination by respondents, which are known to make the data unreliable. For instance, physicians are
Lacroix 6 frequently asked, if euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide were legalized, would there be some circumstances in which they would be willing to perform euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide? Additionally, there has been no consistency among the questions, thus making difficult to compare data across different surveys. In recent years, surveys have addressed some of these problems, although there still appears to be the problem that physicians confound euthanasia with terminating life-sustaining treatments and euthanasia with physician-assisted suicide. (Quill, 324692) There seems to be no consistent pattern among physicians regarding legalization, probably because the questions ask about specific legislation that varies, and because respondents may not be familiar with the particular facets of the legislation. Consistently, only a few physicians would be willing to perform euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide if either were legalized. (Quill, 324694) The Argument In Favor of Euthanasia: At one time, it was not unusual to find suicide and attempted suicide among criminal offenses in civilized countries. This was almost always predicated on the majority religious beliefs of that society, and it had enormous personal impact not only on the person who committed suicide, as to how they would be buried and what would happen to their property, but on that person’s surviving relatives and what they might inherit and the family’s standing in society. (Euthanasia.com, 1) Today, however, suicide is not illegal in any state, but attempted suicide continues to be illegal in a few. The question is very different as regards assisted suicide and active voluntary euthanasia. Some states, like Texas, have had legal rulings that - since suicide is not a crime –
Lacroix 7 assisting a suicide cannot be a crime. Oregon has a voter-approved law that expressly condones assisted suicide, or voluntary euthanasia, by the participation of medical personnel. In the rest of the United States, it is regarded as a serious offence, and treated either as murder, voluntary manslaughter, or a separate crime. The Federal government, through the Department of Justice, has attempted to intervene in this law by threatening to prosecute doctors who participate in an assisted suicide for wrongful use of drugs. Also, the Catholic Church has come out strongly against it, and helped sponsor two unsuccessful voter initiatives to overturn this law.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 12 pages?
- Fall '19
- Voluntary euthanasia, Lacroix