Should enabling someone to commit suicide be legal? California recently approved “physician-assisted suicide” allowing sick patients the option of taking their own life away by receiving a lethal dose of drugs. The California law passed the state senate on September 11, 2015 and will reviewed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The law would expire and have to be reapproved in 10 years, reported The New York Times. But whose decision should it really be? Is it our right as humans? Or is it a natural part of life that humans should have no control over? Many argue that a person should have the right between life or death, but on the other side, others argue that death is inevitable occurrence that should happen naturally without intervening.
Those for the “death with dignity” cause argue that it is a part of our liberty and freedom as Americans. They argue it is a person’s choice whether or not they want to live. They believe the result of assisted suicide and euthanasia is this; the patient is relieved of all pain, the patient dies knowing it was their choice and health costs are reduced. Those against the recently approved legislation think it devalues human life and violates the doctor’s hippocratic oath (to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability), along with many other reasons.
Daniel Kiva, Junior Communications major at Vanguard University, was unsure of his position on euthanasia and assisted suicide. “I have never been personally affected by it, but, I think it should be up to the person, whether or not they want to live” he says “God gave us free will and the ability to make choices. I think it would be in the best for the patient if they had the choice regardless of it interfering with God’s will.”
Alternatively, Vanguard Junior Kyle Smith has a different opinion. “Life’s a garden, dig it. Keep on keepin on” he says, “I play for keeps. Through the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, there is nothing like human life. No matter how bad it gets, there’s nothing quite like this human experience we are having.” Kyle believes that all that happens in life is just part of life, and every moment and everything that happens is an experience, good or bad. That we should embrace it as humans without interfering, that the decision should be left to God.
As a Christian, I believe that the choice of life-or-death is not in our hands, but in God’s. It is not our choice, but it is God’s will for us. He will not put someone through anything they cannot handle.
Although this bill being passed allows for individual rights and freedoms, there are many ethical issues surrounding it. Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, director of medical ethics at UC-Irvine’s School of Medicine, believes that the passing of this bill will affect lower income families and their inability to be able to pay off medical bills. He mentions a case in Oregon, a state that euthanasia has been legal in since 1997, about a woman whose medical insurance refused to pay for medical bills but offered to pay for a physician-assisted suicide.
This means that lower income families will be significantly impacted by the passing of this law. Physician-assisted suicide incentivises health providers to hold off on proper treatment to their patients, in favor for the economic route of assisted suicide. Therefore, saving insurance companies money. This this an issue of saving money or saving lives?
The main difference between euthanasia and physician assisted suicide is in the assistance, the patient is in complete control of the entire process and is in charge of the act of suicide. California’s new law allows physicians to help and provide the means to this end. Euthanasia means that the physician would act directly, to end the patient’s life.
The passing of this bill is a slippery slope because it has no boundaries. What level of pain is considered enough for the use of assisted suicide? What age is old enough to make this conscious decision as a human? The decision for the use of assisted suicide is not a decision that anyone should ever have to make. Our days and nights are gifts from God and He chooses when to give and take away.
“I’m torn between the issue because I feel like if I put myself in one of those patients shoes, I would want the choice” says Jaclyn Barrera, a senior Business major at Vanguard. “But I know it’s part of God’s plan for us no matter what happens. I think that euthanasia should maybe be a choice, but I think assisted suicide should be illegal.”
The issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia is a very tough subject to wrestle with. Both sides of the matter have valid points to argue. However, the decision of life and death should be left to God. We are not to interfere with the natural processes of life that God bestowed upon us.