The Ethics of Assisted Suicide: Legal and Social Perspectives

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Legalizing Assisted Death: Considerations and Perspectives

Physician-assisted suicide, or assisted Death, is a huge debate across the United States that still remains in many conversations today. Assisted suicide is described as when a terminally ill patient takes their own life using a lethal substance with the assistance of a physician. Assisted suicide should be legal because patients should be able to choose how they live the rest of their life and live it with dignity. In some states, they have made assisted Death legal, “In Montana, physician-assisted dying has been legal by State Supreme Court ruling since 2009” (

Along with Montana: California, Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont have made assisted Death legal. Throughout making assisted Death legal, there are many things you have to take a look at and consider. Background information on this topic is huge because it can help you gain knowledge, you also have to look at why it’s right and the methods of the procedure. You may want to look at studies and results of assisted Death so it can give you a realistic idea, also looking at the Ethics and Law perspective of assisted Death. Overall, cost and physiologic testing will help you understand what goes into all assisted Death. Another thing is the Negative aspects to see what might be a downfall to assisted Death. Overall Physician-assisted suicide should be legal in the United States.

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Understanding Assisted Death and Patient Choice

Among many things, it’s important to know background information on assisted Death. Assisted Death is a controversial topic to talk about. Some people may ask what assisted Death is. The term Physician-assisted suicide, referred to as PAS, is when a physician writes off a prescription to a patient with a lethal dose of medication that he or she can take at any time to, unfortunately, end their life. Most of the time, this happens when a patient is terminally ill and has no chance of surviving, no matter how many treatments they go or how much medication they take. When a patient chooses to go down the route of assisted Death, it’s because they cannot do things that they used to because of pain or sometimes because they are held up in a hospital hooked up to a machine. Another reason they choose this is to stop the suffering of their family and friends.

Why is assisted suicide right? Well, today, there is a lot of medical technology that can extend the life of a person. Breathing machines can keep a person alive, and there are medicines that can help someone deal with that. For patients like that, they have a chance of surviving and breathing again. Which is great, but for a terminally ill patient, it’s just something that longers their suffering. Medicine is supposed to keep patients from suffering, but in some cases, it doesn’t. For someone that is dying, the only thing that medical technology does is give a patient more pain every single day.

There are many terminal patients every day that go to the doctors and only ask for one more set of medication to stop the pain- a lethal drug. Jason Barber talks about how his wife Kathleen died in his arms, about how the hospice nurse brought Kathleen morphine to help subside the pain, but it didn’t help one bit. A few days later, Kathleen passed away, and Jason says that “She died with more pain and discomfort, and more slowly than necessary” ( Terminally ill patients should have the right to choose assisted suicide, for it’s the best way to end their pain caused by a disease that no drug could possibly cure.

Costs and Qualification Process for Assisted Death

When it comes to assisted Death, you have to believe that it’s super expensive. The cost of the medication varies on the availability and medication type. When taking the medication, you want to consume additional medication before taking the lethal drug, though it will be at an additional cost. There are many different ways the lethal medication comes in, and it’s all based on the type your physician prescribes. To take the liquid form, it “cost about 500 dollars till about 2012, when the price rose to between 15,000 and 25,000” (

The cause of the cost increase was the “European Union ban on exports to the US because of the drugs being used in capital punishment” ( Later in the year, people chose to switch to the powdered form, with cost about 400 to 500 dollars. To have a dose of secobarbital under the Death with Dignity laws cost roughly 3,000 to 5,000 dollars. The last method that lethal medication comes in is an alternate mixture that consists of Propranolol, Morphine Sulfate, Digoxin, and Diazepam.

There is a long process that goes into being qualified for assisted Death. Must be 18 or older, you have to be a resident in a state that allows assisted Death, and you must be the victim of a terminally ill disease that will kill you in six months or less. Another test that you must pass is you have to be able to communicate and make a rational decision to your doctor. The first step is to make a “formal oral request” (

Many patients will say something like, “Doctor, will you assist me in using Death with Dignity laws” ( After another 15 days, you make another request, and then you’ll need a formal written file request form that is signed by two observers. In many cases where people apply for being assisted in Death, they find an advocacy group and deliver the paperwork and ask for help with the procedure. With this group, they help take out people who are unqualified for assisted Death, overall though it’s the doctor’s decision. If a patient is found with a physiological disorder, the doctor will try to find help.


  1. Death with Dignity National Center. (n.d.). Physician-Assisted Dying in the U.S. Retrieved from
  2. Death with Dignity National Center. (n.d.). Cost of Medication. Retrieved from
  3. Slate. (n.d.). Understanding the Requirements. Retrieved from

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The Ethics of Assisted Suicide: Legal and Social Perspectives. (2023, Aug 15). Retrieved from

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