Carstens: Assisted suicide is ultimately murder


Katy Klopfenstein/Iowa State Daily

There is a debate in the United States about whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide. 

Courtney Carstens

Murder is morally and ethically wrong, yet as we speak many Americans wish to legalize physician-assisted suicide, which I believe is just a mask to put on murder. This act that many wish to widely instate is essentially giving a person the tools in which to end their own life but at the hands of another.

Any death that takes place at the hands of another person is a homicide. This applies to all instances, whether the perpetrator desired or encouraged the death. Any person who dies because of the actions of another person is being murdered, so I don’t understand why we are encouraging this law while being against murder.

We are being hypocrites when it comes to our beliefs.  

The definition of physician-assisted suicide is when a doctor knowingly and willingly provides a patient with the means to end their own life, whether it be by prescribing a lethal dose of a medication or by simply providing them with the knowledge of how to end their life. Physician-assisted suicide is a form of murder, and, as a country and as human beings, we should not allow it to continue as a practice.

Making the decision on whether someone should end his or her own life is a monumental question to face. It is a burdensome idea for an average, mentally healthy person to fathom let alone actually answer. So how can we expect a person who is in severe pain and mental unrest to make that same decision? And more importantly, how can we expect them to make the right decision?

Individuals who are living with depression are not in a sound state of mind. Mayo Clinic’s website describes some characteristics that people dealing with depression may display, some of which include angry outbursts and constant thoughts of worthlessness or self-loathing. They also exhibit signs of deteriorating personal responsibility with inconsistent eating and sleeping habits. How can a person dealing with all of these be trusted to know that there is no hope and that physician-assisted suicide is their only choice?

People who are in a state of depression or dealing with a mental illness of any kind are not the only ones who are faced with this question. Individuals diagnosed with terminal illness also face this question, much like Brittany Maynard. Maynard was a young woman who took advantage of Oregon’s law allowing terminally ill people to end their own lives to end her battle with brain cancer. 

Doctors are often seen as these god-like people who help cure the ill, but one thing people forget is that they are human just like the rest of us. They do make mistakes and try to cover it up despite the huge amount of faith we put in them to fix us. These mistakes include, without question, the misdiagnoses of an illness.

Medical mistakes are one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association volume 284 number 4. Many things kill a person because we are fragile beings, but more than half of the deaths could fall under the category of medical mistakes.

These mistakes include deaths from unnecessary surgery, medication errors in hospitals and more. While doctors can do amazing things to help our communities every day, they do make mistakes and taking a life is one mistake we can not afford to make. 

Physician-assisted suicide is not needed.

If you wish to end your life, all you would have to do is order your physicians to stop giving you the necessary tools that are helping you live longer. Many patients, especially the elderly have the option of signing a do not resuscitate order, which makes it illegal for any person to resuscitate the patient. This is an alternative to not living in pain without physician-assisted suicide.

One huge reason that the terminally ill wish to pass on is because of the discomfort that they are living in. But hospice service is a great alternative for people whose treatments no longer help and said patient has a life expectancy of six months or less. The service is supposed to alleviate as much of the symptoms associated with the terminal illness as possible. It is meant to improve the quality of life of patients in their own home until they pass. 

Ending your life earlier than when it was meant to be ended means that you are shortening the time with your family. Your family has known you your entire life and to put an end to who they know and love is selfish. By ending your life you are ending the pain you are in, but what about the pain left for your family members?

Physician-assisted suicide is a phenomenon that many people think should be legalized in the United States, but ending someone’s life is ultimately murder. Most will agree that murder is completely wrong and that it goes against a vital foundation of our society, so why are so many people endorsing such a heinous act?