No matter where you are, it seems that life and death are never quite black and white.
Death is a very controversial event that most people have no control over. Now when you add in key words like assisted suicide or euthanasia, it only gets grayer. Assisted suicide is legal in only one U.S.
State; perhaps this is because Americans are more concerned with the longevity of life rather than the quality of life.In the state of Oregon it is perfectly legal to ask your physician to help you end your life. Surprisingly, it is the only state in the United States of America where it is legal. One writer had this to say about the new law,
A new professional and moral era in medicine began in Oregon in 1998- the state entered a brave new world in which physicians assume responsibility for hastening the death of their terminally ill patients, and patients determine the timing, circumstances and means of their death (Campbell 498).
In Oregon you can ask your physician to help you end your life, but what if you don’t live in Oregon? Outside of Oregon, the terminally ill do not have many rights concerning their death. They can choose to continue treatment, which, for many means to merely prolong death and make it more painful (Now The Hard Part 89). That’s the alternative, pain for those who are terminally ill. For people whose lives are prolonged, not by choice, the loss of dignity and control must contribute immensely to their suffering (McMurran 16).
Pain, loss of dignity, prolonging the inevitable, that’s what is offered to those outside of Oregon. The government, of course, does not want anyone to suffer, so they passed this act, the Pain Relief Act of 1999, which entailed two major points. Its purpose being, to hinder physician assisted suicide by prohibiting the use of controlled substances, and to push forward with palliative-care research and education (Callahan 7). If we had more palliative-care in this country, then the need and want for assisted suicide would be diminished, and terminally ill patients would be able to live comfortably.