Death with Dignity vs. Assisted Suicide




As a Massachusetts residence, death with dignity or assisted suicide was something that I was personally able to vote on this past election cycle. Although it is not a topic exclusive to the older members of our society, the opposing sides targeted the elderly as their primary audience. While this is not a new debate in the public arena it is one that seems to be evolving. “Question 2” (Massachusetts ballot measure legalizing Dr. assisted death) didn’t pass in Massachusetts with a margin of 49% to 51%. At first the narrowness of defeat seemed shocking to me, but further examination on what has been done by the proponents of Question 2 indicate they are making serious headwind in the public square. And in a state that is very supportive of the right to make personal decisions (i.e. same sex marriage) I am now surprised it did not pass.

My questions?

How do you justify the right to take the life of an unborn fetus with different genetic make up than the mother but don’t allow people the regulated legal right to take their own life in cases of poor health?

How does the doctors oath of “Do no harm” factor into their role in the process? The psychological ramifications?

What do statistics say about the accuracy of medical prognoses (how much time is left to live) made by professionals (MD’s) in terminally ill patients?

I could go on and on and participated in many debates on the ethical dilemma during nursing school. But I’d like to hear what you think? Do you view it as death with dignity or assisted suicide?




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