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Assisted Suicide

Physician assisted suicide presents one of the greatest dilemmas to the medical profession. Shouldsomeone who is mentally competent, but deemed terminally ill, be allowed to engage in physician-assisted suicide? According to the First Amendment of The Constitution of The United States, “one has the freedom to petition the government for a
redress of grievances.” The Fourteenth Amendment states, “The State cannot deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The group believes that a terminally ill patient has the Constitutional right to decide whether or not to end his or her life with
the help of a licensed medical doctor. There have been many cases over the years where a terminally ill patient who is mentally competent has made the choice to either partake in physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia.
“Physician-assisted suicide occurs when the physician provides the patient with the means and/or knowledge to commit suicide”(Death and Dying,91). “Euthanasia is when the physician administers the death causing drug or agent”(Death and Dying,92). The most recent case is that of The State of Florida v. Charles Hall. “Charles Hall is dying of AIDS and challenged the State of Florida to let him die by a self-administered lethal injection without fear ofprosecution”(http://www.rights.org/ deathnet/open.html). On January 31, 1997, a Judge ruled that Charles Hall could take his own life with the aid of a doctor. Senior Judge S. Joseph Davis, brought in from Seminole County, “found that Florida's strict privacy law and the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution entitled Hall, 35, and Dr. McIver to carry out an assisted death without fear of prosecution” (Sun-Sentinel, 1A). On February 11, 1997, Charles Hall's ruling was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court: he no longer has the right to end his own l…

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