Assisted Suicide

The topic that I will write about during this semester will be the right to death. This topic can also be referred as physician-assisted suicide (PAS), death with dignity, or euthanasia. Essentially, these terms refer to the ending of a terminally-ill patient via lethal injection or medication performed by a licensed physician. There are currently 5 states, including California, which have policies in place giving their citizens this option.

I first became interested in this topic when my high school government teacher talked about it to the class. It grasped my attention from the beginning. Then, in my first semester at SFSU, in my philosophy class we discussed the topic again, this time in greater depth. The more I learned about the topic the more I was interested.

I want to learn why there is a debate on assisted suicide. It’ll be interesting to see what arguments both sides have and why they disagree with the opposing side. I want to know how this topic began and how it got to where it is. I want to find out how future laws and views on PAS will form and when. I am not directly affected by this personally, but I certainly am very intrigued and curious.

My major is Computer Science so my career will not be benefited by my topic, however, I will say that since this is a matter of policy that could potentially affect all Americans this could be beneficial to my future family or myself.

The only doubt that I have about this topic is whether The New York Times has published enough text about assisted suicide. There is also nothing that makes me uncomfortable about this topic. Other than that I feel that I could do a really good job writing about death with dignity for this semester.

People that would most be interested in my topic are those who are directly affected by terminal diseases, and the left and right sides of the political spectrum. This could potentially be a huge issue in the upcoming midterm elections and even in the next presidential election.

In The New York Times section The Opinion Letters a publishing entitled “Aid in Dying: A Good or a Harm?” people wrote what they felt on the issue. One person addressed the belief that pain and not being able to pay for medication was a cause for choosing assisted suicide, writing “Pain is not a major reason the choice is made (only 25 percent who choose aid in dying in Oregon cite pain as the reason).” This type of text can be very helpful because it reports many different viewpoints on the topic from different people. In another piece by The New York Times called “First Death for Washington Assisted-Suicide Law”, William Yardley reports on the first time someone has used the assisted-suicide law in Washington and on how people reacted to it and the law.