If a person is suffering from a terminally ill medical condition and undergoing a futile medical treatment or if he/she wants to end their life due to significant suffering they have all the right to commit suicide with assistance from a certified physician or a doctor. What do you think of this act? Let’s have an in-depth look at it.
What Is Assisted Suicide?
Assisted suicide is a process of ending someone’s life with assistance or with the help of another person, sometimes a nurse or a doctor. The right to die states that when the patients are terminally ill, palliative care is given. During the final stage of life if the patients want to end their life because of significant suffering or any other reason. The doctors or nurses providing palliative care is given assists the person to commit suicide. This is also called “physical-assisted suicide” (PAS) or “physician-assisted dying”.
It is similar to euthanasia, also known as mercy killing. In this process, another party acts to bring a person to death in order to end suffering but in assisted suicide, the particular person who is terminally ill wants to end their suffering through suicide and another party simply assists his/her in the process.
1. 9 States in the United States Have Legalized Assisted Suicide.
- A. True
- B. False
But where is assisted suicide legal? There are totally ten jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legal, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Montana, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
Assisted Suicides in the United States
Is suicide legal in the US? 9 states in the United States and the District of Columbia allow assisted or legalized suicides. It is an option given to the citizens. Here are 4 states that allow assisted suicide in the United States.
In 1992, proposition 161 was proposed by a group of Californians for assisted suicide. It was to offer patients who just have less than 6 months to live the right to end their life with the assistance of physicians. Due to a lack of support, the law was not passed. Later, several attempts were made to pass the law in 1999, 2005, and 2006 but nothing worked out until 2015. In September 2015, the California Legislature passed the California end of Life option act. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on October 5, 2015, allowing doctors to prescribe their dying patients with lethal drugs. By doing so, California became the 5th state to authorize assisted suicide but the law went to effect only in June 2016.
Helping someone to die was a crime until 2015 but later in 2015, the legislation for assisted suicide was introduced by Lois Court and Joann Ginel in the Colorado House. Colorado was the sixth state to pass the “right to die law”. This is also called “death with dignity”. Death with dignity states that if an individual is terminally ill or has less than 6 months to live, the person is legally allowed to choose assisted suicide. On November 8, 2016, proposition 106 is passed normalizing assisted suicide.
New Jersey is the eighth state to legalize the “death with dignity” legislation. The bill was signed by Governor Phil Murphy on April 12, 2019, and the law came to effect on August 1, 2019. Only after a thorough inspection of the individual, the doctor prescribes medicine for them to proceed with assisted suicide. The names of the exact drugs are unclear but it is believed to be a combination of Barbiturates. But if the individual has changed their mind and does not want to perform assisted suicide, it is completely acceptable in New Jersey. The doctors can only assist with choosing the drugs and one cannot expect a doctor or a physician to be there during the process. It completely needs to be done by the individuals without anyone’s assistance.
Oregon was the first state to legalize assisted suicide. In October 1997, the law of legalizing “death with dignity” went into effect. This law allows the Oregonians with terminally ill medical conditions to legally end their lives. The drugs are prescribed by a certified physician or a doctor but the process takes place only through self-administration. In a general election in 1994, the law passed with a margin of 51% to 49%. Later, 1997, again the voters chose to retain the law with a margin of 60% to 40%. The patient must be a current Oregon resident to take advantage of the law. Brittani Maynard was a terminally ill woman and when she wanted to end her life due to suffering she moved from California to Oregon to take advantage of the law(Death with Dignity).
The individual must be more than 18 years of age and must possess the capacity to take the decision on their own and two oral requests to physicians with at least 15 days gap are required, the individuals must be suffering from a life-limiting illness certified by the physicians and must also have 6 months or lesser time to live. The options of palliative care must be discussed with the individuals.
What do you think of this law? Do you support “Death with Dignity”? Let us know!