The editors of the Collegian presented a compelling argument for legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Thursday's editorial section. The only reason they gave for the opposition is religion, but there are many other reasons that have nothing to do with religion.
From an article called "Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia," here are some of the reasons legalizing physician-assisted suicide would be wrong that have nothing to do with religious beliefs.
First of all, with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide, there will be an implication that some lives are not worth living. For instance, the elderly or disabled people of our society could very well be told that their lives are not valuable and they should choose death over "draining" their families of resources.
Second, with medical advances it is more than likely that terminal patients do not have to suffer painful deaths. Pain management, along with symptom management, can allow dying people to live their last days to the fullest.
Third, physician-assisted suicide allows people to ignore what is quite possibly a serious cry for help. If a non-terminal individual wants to kill him or herself, they are told to seek help. Why is it assumed that a terminal patient who wants to end his or her life is making a rational decision?
An article in the American Journal of Psychiatry called, "Is it normal for terminally ill patients to desire death?" states that only the terminally ill patients who also were diagnosed with depression wanted to die. The rest did not.
Finally, in spite of any great restrictions on the procedure, legalizing it opens the doors to abuse. In the Netherlands, where physician-assisted suicide has been legal for more than 10 years, two studies performed showed that 26 percent of euthanasia deaths were without the consent of the patient. There are many more reasons that legalizing this would be wrong for the United States, and those are only a few.
Please do not dismiss this as a religious issue.
junior, human development and family studies major