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Unpublished Paper
Physician-Assisted Suicide An Ethical Way Out or An Easy Way Out
  • Joshua M Benson, Hamline University School of Law
Is it ethical, and/or should it be legal, for a terminally ill patient to substitute their will for that of God or nature by allowing them to decide when he or she is ready to die? The death of Dr. Jacob “Jack” Kevorkian last summer brought physician-assisted suicide back into the public limelight. Since 1988, the general public, the courts, legislatures, and physicians have been debating whether it is moral, ethical, or legal to allow for physician-assisted suicide. Recently, the state of Washington’s legislature adopted Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and Montana’s judicial system found physician-assisted suicide to be legal. Therefore, I ask the following questions: Is this a trend that more States should follow? Is it ethical for this type of end-of-life care to be legal and does this type of practice fall within the guidelines of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) policies and the physicians’ Hippocratic Oath? In answering these questions we will look at the history of physician-assisted suicide and the effects of implementing physician-assisted suicide laws. Additionally, we will discuss the role of patient autonomy and a doctor’s duty to be beneficent and non-maleficent. Finally, we will discuss the role of the society and if it is just to allow for physician-assisted suicide.
  • Physician Assisted Suicide,
  • Death With Dignity
Publication Date
Citation Information
Joshua M Benson. "Physician-Assisted Suicide An Ethical Way Out or An Easy Way Out" (2012)
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