Physician-assisted suicide should be a legal option for terminally ill patients. It is an act that mercifully ends the life of a hopelessly suffering patient. The Greek word "euthanasia" means "good death" and should be an option for patients who have no hope of recovering or leading healthy lives ("Euthanasia: Some General Information"). Physician-assisted death involves help from a medically qualified practitioner in fulfilling the wishes of a competent, terminally ill patient to end his/her own life. How widespread is assisted-suicide? In a survey of Oregon doctors, sixty percent felt they should be allowed legally to help terminally ill patients in certain circumstances to die. Additionally, seven percent of those physicians surveyed, admitted to helping their patients die. Another thirty seven percent of doctors who administer to patients with AIDS admitted to having assisted at least one patient to commit suicide ("Issues and. Assisted suicide is a very controversial topic with the medical profession, lawyers, the clergy, and families of seriously ill patients lining both sides of the issue). .
There are some serious consequences to legalizing assisted suicides in this country. The most obvious is people who may not be terminally ill, but who don't want to face the prognosis of living out their lives in a less than totally independent and healthy manner. These include people with debilitating diseases who are totally dependent on caregivers to function. There is an additional fear that people who do not have terminal illnesses but are emotionally unable to function in our society, will take their own lives when there is straightforward medical help available. .
The Fourteenth Amendment in our Constitution states "no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" There is no law written that says people with terminal illnesses can not take their own lives.