Homework Help

What are pros of assisted suicide from the points of view of politics, religion and...

user profile pic

madisonmichele | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 31, 2011 at 3:19 AM via web

dislike 2 like
What are pros of assisted suicide from the points of view of politics, religion and science?

What are pros of assisted suicide from the points of view of politics, religion and science?

9 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:02 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

From the point of view of science, I suppose the most obvious "pro" of Physician Assisted Suicide is that of a painless death.  Those who choose to take their own lives often choose quick and usually painful (sometimes messy) methods--gunshot, hanging, overdose on medications.  Another plus from the point of view of science may be that scientists could study the changes the body goes through from life to death in order to learn more about this passing process.

From the point of view of politics, a person who has been on life-support for an extended time is causing prolonged suffering to himself, his family, and friends.  An Assisted Suicide would put an end to this, give closure to loved ones, and would also cut costs in staffing and equipment and supplies used to prolong his or her life.

From the point of view of religion, I am hardpressed to find a "pro".  Most religions agree that life is a gift and that no human has the right to take that life.  Murder is murder, no matter what sort of name you give it. 

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 31, 2011 at 5:07 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

Depending on your religious beliefs, you might believe in the inherent dignity of human beings and their right to choose for themselves what is going to happen to them.  You could then argue that God does not require humans to end their days in excruciating pain and without their dignity.  If you believe that, then you can accept the idea that choosing to end one's life is consistent with God's plan for human beings to have control of their lives and to have personal dignity.

This connects closely with the political/scientific/secular reasons for allowing assisted suicide.  The idea here is that people have the right to decide what should happen in their own lives, even to the point of choosing to end that life.

user profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 5:11 AM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like

I do not think there is a more appropriate answer than the one given by poster #2,

That being said, religion is not always strictly Christian. Think about the Islamic faiths which make martyrs out of their suicide bombers. I know that I am stretching it a bit, but someone is giving them the bomb and the plans (could be justified as the assistant.

user profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 5:57 AM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

Over the course of human history, our technology has advanced greatly, especially medical technology.  Life expectancy has climbed dramatically in the last century and it is quite common to live past 100 in the modern day.

So logically, it is difficult to argue that we can extend life through the means and abilities of mankind, but cannot end it under man's terms.  Shouldn't adding years to peoples' life spans also be considered circumventing God's will?  If only God can give and take away life, shouldn't we forsake all medicine, all immunizations designed to let us live longer?  So there is a logical conflict in opposing legal suicide yet accepting medically enhanced lives.

Politically, suppose I am a libertarian, and I don't like the idea of the government telling me I cannotdetermine when my life is going to end.  That seems to be quite a government intrusion into private citizens' lives, and whether the government endorsed or allowed it, I could still make such a choice when it comes down to it.  So it is both a personal freedom and a practical issue of governance.

Religiously, it's harder to come up with a pro-argument since life is a consistent religious value.  I could argue the end of suffering is merciful, but it seems a stretch.

user profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:08 AM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like

While I deplore the tactics and the results, post #4 raises a good point in mentioning the suicide bombers that have come out of some terrorist groups. I'm not sure I consider their actions "assisted suicide" - yes, someone gives them the explosive materials and the directions for where to go and when to detonate, but it's still up to the individual to do so. Maybe we can describe it as "directed suicide"?

The point is, in their eyes the suicide is very connected to the political and/or religious conflicts in which they are engaged and is justified by their perception of the need for dramatic action. This would be interpreted, in their opinion, as a positive reason for the action.

user profile pic

madisonmichele | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 31, 2011 at 7:09 AM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

Over the course of human history, our technology has advanced greatly, especially medical technology.  Life expectancy has climbed dramatically in the last century and it is quite common to live past 100 in the modern day.

So logically, it is difficult to argue that we can extend life through the means and abilities of mankind, but cannot end it under man's terms.  Shouldn't adding years to peoples' life spans also be considered circumventing God's will?  If only God can give and take away life, shouldn't we forsake all medicine, all immunizations designed to let us live longer?  So there is a logical conflict in opposing legal suicide yet accepting medically enhanced lives.

Politically, suppose I am a libertarian, and I don't like the idea of the government telling me I cannotdetermine when my life is going to end.  That seems to be quite a government intrusion into private citizens' lives, and whether the government endorsed or allowed it, I could still make such a choice when it comes down to it.  So it is both a personal freedom and a practical issue of governance.

Religiously, it's harder to come up with a pro-argument since life is a consistent religious value.  I could argue the end of suffering is merciful, but it seems a stretch.

Thank you BrettD. I am doing a bioethics paper where I take the postion that Physician Assisted Suicide is morally permissable. I need to express why I think it is and aside from in cases of extreme suffering and terminal illness. I really like your argument regarding man's possible interference with 'Gods will' by his advancements in medical technology and the inconsistancy there. Hadn't thought of that.

user profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 10:58 AM (Answer #8)

dislike 0 like

It is hard for me to identify with the pro's of assisted suicide from a religious standpoint. I don't know that it is acceptable, but I can see a release from suffering for individuals who are in such dire pain. It seems, in this case, to be an act of compassion. I just don't know if I could condone it personally—though we are sometimes challenged when we are forced to consider it up close. And there is that idea that God giveth and taketh away.

Politcally, I agree with #5. Giving a person the right to take his own life seems similar to giving women the right to an abortion. Unfortunately, the infant lost never has any input, and on a personal level, I find the topic a very sad one. When so many people who cannot have children would give almost anything to have a baby, and as a woman who never could have a child, adoption is a blessing—let other take those babies. Of course, I have never been in the position to face this dilemma. With assisted suicide, the question arises as to whether a person really wants it or is being coerced into it. Politically, allowing this law to be passed to protect doctors might well create a loophole for people who just decide to assist another to take his or her life. Then the judicial system has another moral dilemma to deal with. And when does the government's right to decide life and death begin and end. Is it OK in some situations and not others? Or wrong altogether?

In the science community, perhaps allowing the very ill to take their lives would provide the scientific community with information from a body donated in order to gather information on how to better fight disease.

In all of this I wonder: if one tries to commit suicide, he/she is felt to be unbalanced. Does this law change if assisted suicide laws change?

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM (Answer #9)

dislike 0 like

You may wish to read about Dr. Jack Krevorkian, euthanasia activist, who was sentenced to prison for his many assisted suicides of terminally ill people. [There is a recent movie about him starring Al Pacino].  Dr. Krevorkian chapioned a terminal patient's right to end his/her life, contending, "dying is not a crime."

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 31, 2011 at 8:15 PM (Answer #10)

dislike 0 like

You have asked an extremely comprehensive question. From the point of view of politics, euthanasia raises several very difficult issues which need to be addressed. The most pressing of these is how can we be sure that the person wants to die and isn't just being persuaded into it by relatives who don't want to have to pay health care costs and want to inherit their parents' money before it gets spent? The right to life is surely one of the most precious and important of rights that we have as humans, and it is the law's job to make sure that this right is not abused.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes