Why do people OPPOSE assisted suicide?Why do people OPPOSE assisted suicide?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a highly sensitive topic that causes passionate debate to erupt when any group tries to discuss it.  The reason that this topic causes such an emotional response is because, first, there is the religious component.  If you are a religious person, especially Judeo/Christian, you believe that only God has the right to decide when life begins or ends, therefore, prematurely ending a life is a sin.  And, people of faith, don't want to commit this grave sin, which in the Christian tradition used to exclude you from ever getting into Heaven.  Suicide is a hot button issue in Christianity.  The church has developed a broader understanding of victims of suicide.  They are deeply troubled, mentally ill people.

Which brings me to another point about assisted suicide, people who are very ill or who believe that their life is about to end due to a terminal illness are often depressed and hopeless.  So, those involved with the assisted suicide movement take advantage of these emotions and prey upon sick people in delicate states of mind who long for relief from pain or suffering.  I understand why people feel compelled to seek out assisted suicide, but, as a believer in God, I always hold out hope for a better outcome.

When my Dad was sick, really sick, the thought that he would engage in assisted suicide, would be revolting to me, he passed away when it was his time.

The Assisted Suicide movement is also a danger to any society that validates the actions of really sick people who decide to end their lives.  This type of thinking could lead to the development of organizations or authorities who decide that assisted suicide should be an approved method of getting rid of really sick, terminally ill people ALL THE TIME.  A nation that devotes itself to the pursuit of death instead of life is a nation that will select those people who are deemed useful to society, those who are healthy, those who can make a contribution and not be a drain on the system.  This is a scary thought don't you think?

Assisted suicide opens a door to further discussions on such topics as Abortion and Euthanasia, both selective killing.  In any society, these forms of life and death management pose a serious threat to the entire society.  Imagine a world where babies who don't meet certain standards are aborted as part of a routine selection process to create a society of healthy people.  Sound familiar, Hitler tried this!!!!

Euthanasia is like assisted suicide, except it is also called mercy killing, someone else decides when it is time for a sick person to die.  Do you see the danger in this type of behavior?????

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several reasons why individuals oppose assisted suicide.  The first would be that it is against the law.  The Supreme Court has not indicated that there is a fundamental right to die, therefore taking a life, no matter the condition, is against the law.  In this realm, the moral implications are that taking a human life is morally unacceptable and those who oppose assisted suicide argue that no conditions would condone taking a life, regardless of the circumstances.  If the Constitution can be "trumped" in this situation, there is little preventing from being discarded in other situations.

Additionally, those who oppose assisted suicide suggest that individuals should not presume the role of a God in taking human life.  In this line of argumentation, when individuals presume to assume a God like complex, a line has been irreparably crossed for once an individual is permitted to take a life in certain conditions, they can move the demarcation to continue to take more life.  An example of this would that a person assists someone who is dying of cancer.  The next level would be when a person is diagnosed with cancer, and finally, if a person has genetic predispositions for cancer.  This "slippery slope" emerges when lines are blurred. One need only study history to examine what happens when individuals assume the power to take human life.  Certainly, there were many in the Nazi party who argued that taking lives during the Holocaust was a form of "mercy killing," in putting "lesser" individuals out of their own perceived sense of "suffering because of inferiority."

From a scientific or medical point of view, the medical community opposes assisted suicide because it assumes that medical science cannot provide relief for the patient.  This line of argumentation suggests that there are diseases for which there is no current cure, but that does not indicate that advancement will not happen.  For example, polio at one point in time was seen as incurable.  Medical science was able to find a cure.  Chicken pox and measles were seen as fatal at one point in time, but now medical science has developed vaccinations to prevent the onset of such syndromes.  Assisted suicide negates the research and clinical advancements that has marked the history of medical science.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Post #3 basically addressed all of the reasons that many have against assisted suicide, but I did want to add that there is proof that once legalized, assisted suicide seems to have a tendency to be used laxly.  For example, several years ago it came to light that the Netherlands (where Euthanasia is legal) had a gross problem with doctors practicing Euthanasia in nursing homes to make room in the institutions and in the budget for other patients. So, when opponents of assisted suicide worry that assisted suicide might became a way to control society, decide how worthy a human's life is versus someone else's, or cut costs, they are not simply practicing the slippery slope fallacy--there is evidence to back up their fears.


Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Assisted suicide is now legal in Oregon, Washington, and Montana. The Supreme Court upheld it in Gonzales v Oregon in 2004. As practiced in Oregon, numerous safeguards, including multiple written and oral requests (by both patient and doctor), are in place to prevent abuse of the law. A patient requesting assisted suicide must be facing death within six months, and the patient must administer the medication to himself. Even so, the issue was hotly contested in Oregon with strong arguments on each side, including the arguments in opposition already discussed here.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Most people that oppose assisted suicide are against it because death is permanent. Since death cannot be reversed, individuals should not help others kill themselves. The pain that may seem excruciating and unending may be reduced or go away ecentually. There is a also a general stigma against suicide in our culture. People don't feel comfortable with it and don't want to discuss it.
besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that most people who oppose assisted suicide do so because of religious beliefs. The way they see it, only God has the right to choose when someone dies. They may also argue that assisted suicide gives man too much power over life and it shouldn't be that way.

gizmo3673599 | Student
Why do people OPPOSE assisted suicide?

Why do people OPPOSE assisted suicide?

Wow..you are in 12th grade and you asked this question? Can I ask why? That is a deep question. :)

In my opinion, assisted suicide should be legal, and should be MY RIGHT.

The arguments oppose were:

ITS THE LAW:  what some law says today.... laws years ago permitted black slavery.... did that make it right? A short years latter we have a black president.. Laws change daily.. and Assisted suicide is already legal in Oregon, Washington and Montana... along with a number of Countries.. so this reason really does not hold water.

Religion: Everyone interprets religion differently. Let me decide for myself, what is best for myself.... not someone that practices being a Catholic, Moslem, or.. whatever.. don't use the reason of your religion to tell me if I can ask for relief early if i have a short future of pain and suffering.

Fear: It could be a slippery slop... People deciding who dies and who lives.. preying on the old...etc... Come on... Keep it simple. If someone whats to end their life early and goes to licensed doctors, psychologists, and has close friends or family as witnesses. It is MY REQUEST, then what is the problem? No one is making the decision for them as long at the the professionals are professional. (and if they are not.. then that is a problem in any field of practice.)

Some people simply do not want their family members cleaning up their poop and pee while they wait to die. They want to die with good memeries and respect.

blopez1 | Student

I tried to create a group discussion on facebook on this topic and the first two people told me that this was just too controversal. So I deleted it.  I think it is a topic that should be discussed more often.  It is not good to let it go too often because there may be a time when someone tries to make this decision for you. I do not believe assisted suicide is a good thing.  Try telling this to a soldier on the battle field.  Or someone who is suffering tremendously.  I just know that I would not want to contribute to that or to have someone make that decision for me if I was unable to cope or speak for myself. Yes, I do believe that life and death should be decided by God.  On the other hand what about the death penalty? Aren't we supposed to be different since Jesus died on the cross and abolished the law and the penalty for sin?

ctteacher | Student

Assisted Suicide, also commonly referred to as Euthanasia is one of the most controversial topics of our time. There are several compelling arguments on both sides of the issue; however, the most common arguments against Euthanasia are as follows:


  1. People are morally or ethically opposed to the idea of assisted suicide
  2. It is illegal in the United States; should it become, legal, it may lead to a slippery-slope for persons who are not-terminally ill to request to die.
  3. Fear that some may be coerced/ pressured into assisted suicide
  4. Potential for law suits
  5. Potential misdiagnosis, misuse, or abuse by physicians.
  6. Difficulty regulating assisted suicide socially and legally
  7. Hippocratic Oath physicians take require Dr’s “do no harm.

See www.apa.org keyword assisted suicide for a more in depth look at the topic.


*You cannot mention assisted suicide without mentioning Dr. Kevorkian, the foremost expert on the topic of euthanasia.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Before we start to discuss the question supporting or opposing the practice of assisted suicide, it would help to first have some clarity on the propriety of suicide itself. Should a person have the right to commit suicide?

Legal system in India, and I believe in many other countries consider suicide illegal. I believe this is correct well justified in normal case, where suicide is a a act of desperation or extreme helplessness. In normal case, a person should be dissuaded and prevented from committing suicide rater than being assisted or abetted in committing suicide. By letting a person commit suicide without at least a protest, the society sends out a message that it does not care for life of an individual as long as no one else can be blamed for ending it. So I fully support the idea of considering suicide improper an illegal in general.

But when we talk of assisted suicide, we are taking about some special situation. Our medical system today is frequently able to keep a very sick alive for extended periods, although there is no possibility of recovery. Without such medical aid a person would have died in any case. In such cases we really need to think about the propriety of keeping a person alive artificially, that only prolongs the agony of ill health rather than cures it. I believe in cases like this it is definitely proper to withdraw all artificial life support systems, and let the person die in peace if he or she so desire. I will not like to classify such practice as assisted suicide at all.

The term assisted suicide is appropriate only when we shorten the life of a person beyond what what withdrawal of life support system will result in. To understand the implication of this let us consider a patient who is so much in pain that he has to be kept under so strong medication that he is almost asleep all the time. As soon as patient gains some some degree of wakefulness, the pain start and the patient is given another injection to put him back to sleep. Now if this sequence is to be continued with full knowledge that the person will have to be treated like this till he dies, then serious question arise about its propriety. I believe in such situations assisted suicide may be the right choice.

However, as every other legal provision, the provision about making assisted suicide legal can be misused, and due care is required to minimize such use.