Assisted Suicide

Is assisted suicide okay if the patient would like to die?

What is assisted suicide?

Assisted suicide is...

  • when doctors give patients a life ending drug, but the patients choose if and when they use the drug
  • suicide facilitated by another person, normally a physician, who organizes the suicide, by providing the necessary quantities of a poison.

More Background Information

  • Oregon, Montana, New Mexico (only Bernalillo County), Vermont, and Washington allow assisted suicide
  • During the first year the law of death with dignity was in force in Oregon, twenty-four people obtained a prescription for lethal drugs, and sixteen took the drugs and died.
  • people think that individuals should be allowed access to medical assistance to end their lives voluntarily, when and how they choose


Some of the pros of assisted suicide are

  • People are already allowed to refuse medical treatment even when they know that they will die without it.
  • The nurse or doctor can move onto another patient that has a chance at living instead of spending their time helping a terminally ill patient.
  • allows patients to control their own end of life peacefully - not tortured by a bad illness
  • a planned death can save families tens of thousands of medical costs
  • organs can be saved and used to save other patients instead of letting the patient die on their own and have unusable organs


Some of the cons of assisted suicide are

  • legalizing assisted suicide and could create moral issues for doctors
  • under the law in most states, assisted suicide is considered killing, which is illegal
  • people say that it is God's choice to decide when you die, it's not your choice
  • might make it to easy for other people suffering from depression or other non-terminal illnesses to commit suicide
  • possible someone other than the patient could decide the patient should be given the poison

Oregon's Death with Dignity Act

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People related to assisted suicide

Brittany Maynard

Brittany Maynard had brain cancer and only had about 6 months to live. She was going through a lot of pain and her doctors told her she would die a painful death. She decided she didn't want to be torchured and she also didn't want her family to sit in a hospital watching her die. She moved to Oregon and used their Death with Dignity program. This allowed her to die on her own time and enjoy her last few moments alive having fun and not worring about when she was going to die.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian

Dr. Jack Kevorkian helped people die when they wanted to and so they didn't have to suffer and be in a lot of pain. Many people came to him and he had a drug that allowed the patients who had cancer or were going through a lot of pyhysical pain to die peacfully.

Barbara Mancini

Barbara was at home with her 93 year old father and he asked her to pass the morphine. She did and he proceeded to drink the rest of the bottle. Barbara said that her father was always saying he wanted to die because he was suffering from a kidney disease, cardio-vascular problems, and a couple other small illnesses. He was suffering a lot of pain and that is why he had the morphine. When the ambulance came to take Barbara's dad to the hospital she was arrested immediately for helping him commit suicide. When she was only sitting watching him kill himself to ease the pain of his illnesses.

A doctor

An older lady almost at death asked her doctor if she could help her die because the patient didn't want to suffer. The doctor couldn't do this because of the law. The patient also didn't want to go through another episode of heart failure. She was absolutely terrified of it. So, this patient had to sit in the hospital until she died, suffering, and her family had to watch her die in pain.


I think that assisted suicide is okay, but only under a set of rules. For example, a rule that only allows people who are going to die soon and if their is no cure for them. They can't just want to die because they are depressed or upset. If we allowed that to happen there would be more suicidal deaths. We also cannot allow parents to make the decision for their child that they take the drug to kill them. If they made the decision and the child din't want to die it would be murder. Oregon's "Death with Dignity" program has a good set of guidelines for asking for the drug. The guidelines are...

  • An adult (18 years of age or older),
  • A resident of Oregon
  • Capable (defined as able to make and communicate health care decisions)
  • Diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months
These guidelines will help people dying a painful death die peacefully and without harm.


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