The Different Categories of Assisted Suicide
Generally, there are four categories of assisted suicide (AS). Their analysis and discussions have continued to draw a line between the opposers and proposers of euthanasia or assisted suicide. The four categories or types include passive euthanasia (PE), active euthanasia (AE), physician assisted suicide (PAS) and involuntary form euthanasia (IFE) (Glick, & Hutchinson, 21-79).
Passive euthanasia is where all kinds of medical assistance and some basic needs are stopped and letting the subject die naturally. Active euthanasia, also known as “kevorkianism” , is the case where a professional or non professional induces death to the subject. The third category is the physician assisted suicide abbreviated as PAS. This is where by a practicing physician renders an assistance to a person on request to terminate his or her own life .Finally, there is the involuntary form euthanasia, a case where by one is killed whether they wanted to die or otherwise. This type of euthanasia is the one witnessed in criminal executions (Glick, & Hutchinson, 21-79).
Contemporary Ethical Issues Surrounding Assisted Suicide
Assisted suicide goes against many religious beliefs, rites and practices. Most religions term life as a gift from God, and that it should be celebrated by those who posses it. This, therefore, causes the religious leaders and stakeholders to frown upon the deliberate and premeditated ending of a person’s life before the natural ending of person`s life. They argue that the essence of life is living it through bad and good times and since it is God’s gift to humans it should not be interfered with (Glick, & Hutchinson, 21-79). In the case of assisted suicide in Florida Vs Oregon, there are three basic points that raise questions when delving into the ethics of assisted suicide. First is the issue of those termed as physically challenged, mentally ill or expressively weak. This group of persons find themselves in constant need of assistance from other persons in order to continue living. There are those who are very aged, they also have to be assisted to do almost everything they used to do by themselves and which they can no longer do because of their old age (Glick, & Hutchinson, 21-79).
The issue of fatal illness: those who find themselves in this state are always considered to be suffering, and decisions are to be made regarding to what extent they should suffer. The extents to which they can be allowed to suffer is measured on some decisions. Problems begin when a decision cannot be reached on whether a disease is to be termed terminal or fatal. The third issue is that of human power over himself or herself and others, a case where one is given the power to either end or not to end lives. A summary of some of these rights may be abused to satisfy selfish interests. Perhaps, “removal of the taboo against assisted suicide can lead to the destructive expansions of the right to kill the innocent” (Kluge, 39-43).
In the contemporary society, people tend to strive for freethinking, rights for all lives, and so people tend to have their independence concerning various issues. The right to kill one-self becomes one of the hotly contested subjects when we look at the limits and contents of one’s freedoms and rights. This then makes suicide whether assisted or not a legal act and most states are starting to make or amend laws and jurisdiction to address this thorny issue (Kluge, 39-43).
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Assisted Suicide Laws around the World
Nations worldwide are restructuring their laws to illegalize assisted suicide. For instance, the case of England’s legislation on assisted suicide act of 1961 which can earn one a jail sentence of 14 years for lending a hand or supporting one to take his or her own life. In 2009, Debbie Purdy filed a court appeal which resulted to a clear line being drawn as to when to prosecute. The crown prosecution service reviewed the laws that were then applied in the rulings in the last 18 months. (Maya, Assisted suicide law around the world)
A criminal suit of attempted manslaughter involving a lawyer was defeated when the highest court in Germany dealing with criminal cases found that in situations where the patient places a prior request, then the assisted suicide might be deemed legal. In another case, regulation by the European human rights court stated that the state is not bound by law to avail means to end one’s life even though the right to choose how to and time of death belongs to them. Various countries have very precise laws that criminalize assisted suicide. On the other hand, some states have in place legislation that prosecutes assisted suicide cases as manslaughter, the case in Sweden (Maya, Assisted suicide law around the world)
The case of Eluana Englaro in the year 2009, who slipped into a coma as a result of a tragic car crash, caused a constitutional dilemma in Italy. In 1991, the supreme court of Canada ruled against sue Rodriguez after a two year court tussle, leading to an elicited attempts by a ‘for assisted suicide group’ to try and modify the law on assisted suicide (Maya, Assisted suicide law around the world). In France, the legislative council threw out a suggestion to legalize adult assisted suicide. Other states have enacted legislations that allow assisted suicide in defined situations. Examples include Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg and in the United Sates such as Oregon Montana, and Washington (Maya, Assisted suicide law around the world)
In Oregon, Montana and Washington, physician assisted suicide is legal and these legalities are enshrined in the various constitutions of these states. The legal requirements are that the one in need of ending his or her life must be of sound mind, alert, in conscious state of mind, and must be fatally ill or very close to the actual level of losing their lives or passing on (Glick, & Hutchinson, 21-79).
The Oregon Death with Dignity Act and the Washington BillT
hese two laws borrow significantly from each other, and are structured in such a way that before an individual enlists to be assisted by a registered physician to end his or her life, he has to meet some requirements. The first requirement is that the subject must be of straight thinking; not disillusioned in any way; and conveys an approved level of mental or psychological health. The second requirement is that two different qualified medical practitioners must provide proof that the patient has less than half a year to be alive before succumbing to their condition. The third requirement is the presence of two observers, a doctor and the other one an individual who is not related to the patient and who must give accent to the request of the subject (Glick, & Hutchinson, 21-79). An appeal for the operation should be put forward by the patient in a time frame of fifteen days (Kluge, 39-43).
In the 1990s, assisted suicide was conducted in the open. Contentious affairs were openly discussed in social circles. The case of doctor Kevorkian who helped several people to commit suicide was a big issue in the 1990s, and it was equated to murder. The court, however, pardoned him on the grounds of lack of proof to criminalize the act. Later in the years, Kevorkian went ahead to push for the assisted murder act to an act that was generally perceived as closest to murder. Far from the Kevorkian case of Michigan was the California human rights activists. The activists put forth a proposition that patients who were seriously suffering from an illness and who could not live after a year, and if the ailment’s diagnosis could be assisted by accredited medical practitioners to end their lives. This proposal was an attempt to caution the public from errant physicians by putting in place more safety measures relative to the Washington’s initiative 119. However, the proposal failed to garner the majority votes.
An interesting case of litigation in the state of New York in the year 1994 brought a constitutional confusion when it claimed that the decree caking assisted suicide a criminal act was abusing the fourteenth revision of the constitution by limiting a person’s rights to be protected by the state and to be autonomous while in the state. Interestingly two years later the United States appellate court reversed the decision by de criminalizing assisted suicide and by interpreting issues that not allowing people to have the power to decide when to die goes against the article that bounds the state to protect its citizens (Butterworth, Florida Supreme Court Case on Assisted Suicide of 1995).
In the same year, 1994, in the state of Washington, the faction of compassion and choices formerly called the hemlock society placed a proposal known as initiative 119, in an attempt to revise the accepted death by natural causes law that were created in 1979. However, this recently changed when an amendment referred to as initiative 1000 passed by a majority votes, 57.82 percent. It then allowed any grown up who had a chance of surviving a fatal illness to enlist for assisted death by introduction of injection that would end their suffering. Decrees in Florida and Oregon, including other states, got affected by the amendment of the law. The other affected states included Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, Connecticut, Montana Nevada, Idaho, Hawaii and California. The act, though, still encountered challenges from the opposition who forwarded several appeals for withdrawal (Butterworth, Florida Supreme Court Case on Assisted Suicide of 1995).
Legislations on Assisted Suicide in Florida Vs Oregon
In Oregon, one can be seen culpable to be in favor of a suicide when found to have participated in one way or another by assisting, helping or abetting another person to commit or try to commit suicide. This revised policy number 9a .36. 060. goes further to include a clause that gives permission to very sick adult persons, who have no hope of recovery and have not more than half a year live, a prescribed quantity of death inducing drugs, and only after satisfying laid down conditions (Glick, & Hutchinson, 21-79).
Both Florida and Oregon have no clear legislations that could be contested as outlawing assisted suicide, supporting a suicide attempt or giving advice to one in order to commit suicide. These states, plus other US states like West Virginia ,Vermont ,Wyoming , Alabama , Massachusetts, Nevada, Idaho, Virginia , Ohio ,North Carolina and Utah are to some extent all affected by the passage on assisted suicide. Massachusetts, Alabama, Ohio and North Carolina assisted suicide and have a prosecution capacity. Assisted suicide a detached crime in some of these states, where as the same crime is illegalized (Kluge, 39-43).
Additionally, as many as twenty five of the United States are involved in assisting suicide crimes, even though they do not clearly demonstrate explicitly the extent of involvement. For example, the Alaskan law statute number 11.41.120. states that one may be found guilty if found to have knowingly assisted another to kill themselves. In Arizona, the revised law postulates that one might be said to have carried out a murder by purposely giving assistance to another person to die. In Arkansas, one consigns to manslaughter by intentionally effecting or soliciting for one to commit suicide. In California, an offence or a felony is secured when one deliberately ascribes to assisting another person to commit suicide. In Colorado, the revised statue number 18-3-104 says that a criminal sentence of murder may be pressed upon an individual if proven that he or she assisted another one in procuring a suicide. And in Connecticut, one causes a crime of homicide in the subsequent level when proved to have pressured, lured or convinced another individual to end their own lives (Kluge, 39-43).
More states , including Delaware , Iowa , Louisiana , Maine Michigan, Minnesota ,Mississippi ,Missouri, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin, have no precise legislation on what is considered criminal or what is allowed by the law as far as assisted suicide is concerned. These states have criminalized assisted suicide but no detailed legal documentation provided to defend against the crime, making the cases of assisted suicide largely difficult to make rulings on (Kluge, 39-43).
Some states have statutes in place that provide a clearer and precise argument as to what is and what isn’t a caused suicide, and the parameters for causative knowledge of, willfulness and intention. This clause is applicable in Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Kentucky, New Jersey, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and in Tennessee.
Assisted suicide in Florida Vs Oregon
In Florida, statute No. 728.08 spells out that anyone who knowingly aids another person in committing suicide will be liable to a murder charge, whereas in Oregon, the law is more pronounced to the state. It states that an lawful manslaughter in the subsequent level is not chargeable, only if one knowingly assists another person to commit suicide under the death with dignity act of 1994. These make it illegal for any person, whether a physician of non physician, to assist any person to end his or her life in Florida and Oregon (Glick, & Hutchinson, 21-79).
It is important to emphasize here that there are two laws in Oregon that borrow from each other. These laws have strict requirements that have to be met before they get enacted by any individual. The first requirement is that the subject must be of straight thinking, not disillusioned in any way and be of an approved level of mental or psychological health. Two different qualified medical practitioners must provide evidence or proof that the patient is less than half a year to be alive before succumbing to death as a result of their illness. That third clause requires the presence of two observers, one doctor and the other one an individual who is not related to the patient and who must give an accent to the request of the subject (Wood, the fight to die). An appeal for the operation should be put forward by the patient in a time frame of fifteen days (Kluge, 39-43). These requirements are necessary so that, even though assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, there are mechanisms in place to control it. This enables the leaders of the state of Oregon to be able to maintain the delicate balance between assisted suicide or euthanasia and the actual act of murder (Butterworth, Florida Supreme Court Case on Assisted Suicide of 1995).
In Florida, those who intentionally assist other persons to commit suicide will be liable to a murder charge. In Oregon, the law states that unless an individual knowingly or intentionally assists another person to end his or her own life under the death with dignity act of 1994, the case of assisted suicide is not chargeable in court of law. While in Oregon the law permits the dignified helping hand in ending a person’s life, the state of Florida I against this act and those found guilty of it a liable to a murder sentence. The United States highest court gave a free pass to states to provide their own forms of guidance on euthanasia and any forms of assisted suicide. This allowed states in the United States of America to have different rules governing the same. This makes the United States not to have any laws that are consistent from one state to another. The case in Florida and Oregon. In summary, assisted suicide is illegal in the state of Florida, and the same is by large legal in Oregon.
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