A paper which argues in favor of the individual’s right to die by means of medically assisted suicide.
This paper examines the ethical and legal dilemmas faced by physicians regarding the question of euthanasia. The paper also presents definitions and an examination of the legal and ethical state of euthanasia and assisted suicide, along with a discussion of a fierce societal debate where both sides of the controversy are represented. The paper ultimately demonstrates that there is no viable moral or legal reason that euthanasia should be prohibited.
Proponents contend that individual liberty is a fundamental constitutional guarantee, and that the right to privacy protects the right of an individual to choose to die. Wolhandler argues forcefully that the constitutional right to privacy elucidated in Griswold v. Connecticut and expanded in Roe vs. Wade, also applies to euthanasia; thus protecting the individual from the interference of the state if that person chooses assisted suicide or active euthanasia. He also argues that the protection of the right to self-determination is the key to democracy and the social contract on which this nation is built when he states: Although one may not be able to agree about what constitutes good life or good death, one can agree to let each make his own choices, as long as those choices do not involve direct and significant violence against others (Wolhandler, 1984).