Essays On Assisted Suicide Outlines

2.Voluntary Euthanasia Movement a.The Voluntary Euthanasia Movement marked the beginning of the euthanasia and assisted suicide debate. Medical journals, discussions, and public debates occurred, but made little impact. The efforts to legalize euthanasia have been present since the 1930s. Attempts to get laws passed in various states often failed because of “legislators’ fear of political backlash” (Dombrink & Hillyard, 2001, p. 9). Additionally, the first half of the twentieth century lacked the medical science needed to extend the lives of patients, especially those who were terminally ill. Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and influenza are among the several common causes of death due to the lack of antibiotics which were not yet discovered. Those in comas usually died quickly because of additional illness or the inability to eat and drink. Those with terminal illnesses almost always developed another illness that resulted in their death before their terminal disease could run its course. The lack of medical knowledge along with a lack of awareness from the people of the United States ultimately resulted in no change regarding the euthanasia issue (Dombrink & Hillyard, 2001).

by fbedard on February 2, 2016 - 12:33am

A. Topic & Type of Paper/ Justification of Social Issue

The topic of this paper is assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada. This paper will mainly be analytical, as it will be looking at the causes of this issue and its consequences on the general population. Finally, this paper will seek to answer why there is a lack of resources for human euthanasia and assisted suicide in this country.

Assisted suicide and euthanasia are social issues because they show a gap between social ideals (every human being has the right to live with an adequate quality of life) and the social reality (patients with degenerative diseases cannot end their sufferance with consent due to the lack of resources for euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada).

The criminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide has violated people’s right to life for a long time in Canada. Only recently, precisely in February 2015, the right to practice assisted suicide in this country has been partially legalized for adult patients who clearly understand and fully consent to the end of life (Duffy, 591). As it is right now in 2016, a brand new law called the Dying with Dignity law has been put into place to legalize the practice of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada (Plante). However, a doctor who receives the request to help a person die must confirm with second doctor in order to proceed to euthanasia, the second doctor may refuse to help the patient in some circumstances (Plante). The lack of resources for assisted suicide still affect a significant part of the population since its practice is prohibited to all patients who do not meet the strict governmental requirements (i.e. unconscious patients).  This issue can be assed through legislative reforms and further psychiatric research on understanding death (Duffy, 595).

B. Major areas of interest / important questions & associated social science disciplines.

  • What are the psychological consequences of depriving people from fundamental human right of life? (Psychology)
  • What would be the implications on general population to provide more resources to people who desire to end their life with consent? (Sociology)

C. Who/what groups are involved in this issue?

Assisted suicide can be looked at on an individual level when looking at its effects on one’s human rights and wellbeing. However, this issue can also be looked at from the community level, looking at changes physician-assisted suicide has on the legal system and in the medical industry.

D. Sources:

Duffy, A. O. (2015). The supreme court of Canada ruling on physician-assisted death: Implications for psychiatry in Canada. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(12), 591-595. Retrieved from Ebsco Host data base.

Plante C. (15 January 2016).  Quebec City patient obtains medical aid to die. Montreal Gazette. Retrieved from 

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