Topic: Research the Oregon Death With Dignity Act, which allows physician assisted suicide. Explain this act. Is this act unconstitutional? Is this act immoral? Should this act be repealed? Why?
The Oregon Death With Dignity Act (ODWDA), as the United States Supreme Court stated in Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006)., exempts from civil or criminal liability state-licensed physicians who, in compliance with the specific safeguards in ODWDA, dispense or prescribe a lethal dose of drugs upon the request of a terminally ill patient. So this physician assisted suicide is different from euthanasia, wherein the physician performs intervention, because the physician performing assisted suicide, however, merely provide the necessary means and information, and the patient performs the act of suicide. Also, even though the legal and moral debates concerning physician assisted suicide never stop, people have come to a meeting of two basic principles. First, physicians have an obligation to relieve pain and suffering and to promote the dignity of dying patients in their care. Second, the principle of patient bodily integrity requires that physicians must respect patients’ competent decisions to forgo life-sustaining treatment.
There are three states having similar acts in the United States because the Supreme Court holds state legislatures can legalize physician assisted suicide. However, the Court did not recognize it as a constitutional right because the government’s interest in preserving life and preventing intentional killing outweighed the patient’s interest in the liberty to choose to die. Generally speaking, the constitutionality of the Act cannot be shaved merely because of no recognized constitution right therein. Therefore it is not safe to say it is an unconstitutional act.
The morality of the Act also gives arise of debate. Life is the most valuable thing for every human being and cannot be ended unless unforgivable crimes done by certain individual, and his or her existence certainly threat others’ lives. Pure suicide is completed because the one chooses not to hope anymore and only when such individual has come to an unexpected option to die intentionally and independently. However, physician assisted suicide directly or indirectly gives a patient who temporarily feels hopeless a hint: you can die as soon as possible if you want. It offers individuals an expectable option to die when the one still loves his or her life, because companion of families and friends can make it happen even when he or she is suffering. In terms of independence, offering methods, lethal doses or drugs to a patient who may still have chances is no less evil than giving him or her a gun to suicide. In addition, there could be a possibility that the physician is interest and misleads the patients to end their lives intentionally. We can assume all physicians and the processes are good, but we cannot predict whether the suffering can be dismissed or reduced in future while death is not recoverable.
As reasoned above, the Act should be repealed in case of more states choose to legalize such an evil performance and potential crimes therein.