“Somebody has to do something for humanity” (Williams White 1). Euthanasia, or in other words assisted suicide, is the act of helping someone end their life when they have a terminal disease/illness. There are only three states in the United States and only seven countries around the world that recognize the law that supports assisted suicide. If this practice is performed, then it is looked at and treated as a crime against the doctor who helped, when really it is not. Euthanasia should be legalized everywhere. From the legalization, to the doctors who perform the task, and the circumstances, assisted suicide helps suffering people.
Legalizing assisted suicide would mean an easier passing for those who have a terminal disease. If euthanasia was allowed everywhere, then more suffering, ill patients could make the choice they want. The law has been recognized in Switzerland since 1942 and only 5% of all deaths in the country are by assisted suicide. By not legalizing euthanasia then “against those weak objections stands the huge benefit of allowing people in great suffering to get help in putting an end to the pain and misery when they are not strong enough, or do not have the resources, to do so themselves” (Economist 1). If governments would pass a law allowing the right of euthanasia, then more terminally ill patients would have the chance to pass peacefully.
As there are only seven countries and very few states that allow assisted suicide, it should start being allowed everywhere. There are not many places that have a euthanasia law in effect, but more places should because if more states passed those laws, then others will follow in their footsteps and pass laws. Oregon, Washington, and Montana are the only states that have laws that legalize physician assisted suicide. It is a step in the right direction that “assisted suicide is already permitted in seven countries and states and is now being debated in New Zealand, Quebec, Australia, and Britain” (Economist 1). There are not laws at the federal level regarding euthanasia as each state governs this issue individually. If more states were to pass laws, then it would open up dialogue for more open discussion and communication.
Particularly, a lot of people and physicians think assisted suicide is morally wrong, but a vast amount of doctors find it acceptable. Based on the amount of medical knowledge, euthanasia should be available for anyone who meets the framework. Dr. Jack Kevorkian helped over 130 people with assisted suicide. Williams stated that “those who sought Kevorkian’s help typically suffered from cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis or paralysis” (Williams White 2). Many physicians along with Kevorkian think that patients who are suffering have the right to make the choice of when their body can no longer endure it. Doctors believe euthanasia is acceptable, so it should be legal in all states.
Although some physicians say euthanasia isn’t a legitimate practice, other doctors say it is. If assisted suicide was a lawful practice, than the terminal patients who want the option can have the passing they want. Doctor Jack Kevorkian was quoted saying “It’s a legitimate, ethical medical practice as it was in ancient Rome and Greece” (Williams White 2). The physicians that say differently to euthanasia not being a legitimate practice are the ones who do not want to help the terminally ill patients. Legalizing assisted suicide would make sure it is a legitimate and ethical practice.
There are certain circumstances in which euthanasia is appropriate. Some criteria that would be best to meet would be the type of disease, the time frame, and the number of physicians examining the patient. After gaining access to do the act it should not be a crime to the performing physician. There has to be a structure for the process of euthanasia such as “a person who has an illness from which two doctors consider he or she will die within twelve months could receive assistance from their doctor to end their life, if certain safeguards were met without the assister committing a crime” (Falconer 1). If assisted suicide was legalized, the law would provide the framework to protect patients and physicians.
Just as there are circumstances that fit reasons for assisted suicide there are circumstances that do not fit euthanasia. If the patient’s condition is not ruled terminal, with a reasonable amount of certainty, then the choice for assistance is denied. When the examining physicians cannot agree on the terminality then, “in the light of that, we do not consider it would be right to extend the right of an assisted suicide to someone who is not terminally ill” (Falconer). By legalizing euthanasia, laws would safeguard those who have the right for assistance and those who don’t.
The majority of non supporters of legalizing euthanasia or even the practice of euthanasia are typically people that have never had to deal with a life changing illness or a family member that has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is sad to say but if more people had to endure the diagnosis of a terminal illness or someone close to them being diagnosed with one it would open a lot of people’s eyes. Unless your life or the life of someone you love has been irrevocably changed it is easy to stand back and point fingers at the ones that support the practice as well as the ones that perform the procedure.
Euthanasia should become lawful everywhere due to more places legalizing it, physician support, and the circumstances. Governments must take action by legalizing assisted suicide and allowing patients a simpler, more peaceful passing. Laws setting the guidelines for physician assisted suicide are critical with legalization. The more legislators that support this practice and fight to get it legalized the more options suffering patients would have. If more places were to legalize euthanasia, more terminally ill patients would have an easier way out and not have to endure their pain and misery anymore. Would you not want to have this option if you or a loved one was facing their inevitable death?