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The debate concerning assisted suicide has lasted for many years. Even today, people keep finding various pros and cons related to this issue. Only few states allow it, but in fact, while politicians proceed with arguing, more people live in agony without the possibility to ease their pain and choose death with dignity. Under certain circumstances, people should have the option to make choice, and all states should follow suit.
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First of all, it is significant to consider the cost of forbidding assisted suicide. According to Barone (2014), “More than 750 people in Oregon have ingested a lethal dose of prescription medication since 1997”. If consider that in each state that does not have the laws that let persons die with dignity, approximately the same number of people needed this option during those 17 years, the number of ruined lives becomes very scary. The protraction of not making this difficult decision keeps increasing it; while politicians doubt, people continue living in pain.
For example, Ollove (2015, n. p.) presents a story of Erwin Byrnes, which illustrates the extent to which the possibility of dying with dignity is beneficial for patients. Byrnes had advanced Parkison’s disease. When he decided to receive lethal medication, he began to plan his memorial service. Mr. Byrnes considered the menu and music – he made sure that everything would be high-level and tasteful. Mr. Byrnes self-administered the medicine, as it was allowed in Montana. When he died, he was surrounded by his family. His wife admitted that this way of dying was beautiful, peaceful, and dignified. This example is one of the many. Doctor Kress who was present at such procedures, mentioned that all patients felt good about it. Moreover, at that moment they had a chance to say nice words to their family. Alternatively, terminally ill patients who are deprived of an assisted suicide option often have no chance to say goodbye because in order to deal with pain, they are sedated into unconsciousness for the rest of their lives.
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To my mind, people overreact when they argue that assisted suicide practice can lead to such a negative consequence as abusive activity. It is crucial to remember that the laws which are related to this serious situation have a number of restrictions to protect patients’ interests and life. Firstly, a person must be mature enough to make this decision – he or she must be at least 18 years old. Secondly, this opption is only available for terminally ill patients who have less than half a year left. Considering that the last six months are the most difficult and painful, these patients will not miss happy moments of their lives. On the contrary, they will have a chance to avoid suffering. Thirdly, this patient must have the capability to make decisions related to health care. Thus, it saves him or her from being murdered: neither relatives nor health care providers have the right to decide it. Fourthly, two or more witnesses must sign this patient’s request; one of whom must have no relation to the patient or to his or her estate. Finally, this patient will get the prescription in 15 days, and he or she can refuse to take it any time (Barone, 2014, n. p.). This delay lets the patient think carefully again about his or her choice.
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To conclude, the option to die with dignity is rather advantageous for terminally ill patients. Laws related to assisted suicide protect patients, so that forbidding it has no sense. Therefore, all states should establish laws to allow people to decide how they wish to die – peacefully and quickly, or in pain. Moreover, patients deserve to say goodbye to their families, and this option provides them with this possibility.
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