The U.S. Should Legalize Assisted Suicide By Euthanasia

Two deaf twins were euthanized in Belgium this week for extreme emotional suffering. After having lived together their entire lives, they could not bear enduring never seeing each other again due to a medical condition that would leave them permanently blind. But in the U.S., assisted suicide is a rare occurrence. Very few states have laws permitting euthanasia, but the federal government should change this regulation.

The government should legalize euthanasia and provide psychological therapy for those who perform the act in order to help, not to murder, while, writing a corollary law prohibiting the request for euthanasia. Euthanasia — the act of assisting suicide — harms people who perform the act because it requires the performer to take a life. Euthanasia is not a private decision or action.

Advocates of euthanasia argue that the act should be an individual’s private decision because it does not harm others. Advocates of euthanasia argue that all people, regardless of physical capability, should be able to do what they want with their bodies, including the ability to choose when and how they die. In order to have equal access to this freedom for people unable to commit suicide, they advocate for euthanasia on the grounds that it is a private decision because it does not harm anyone.

But euthanasia harms the person performing the act. Unlike suicide, where a person kills himself, euthanasia requires person A to kill person B at the consent of person B.

Killing another human being has negative psychological impacts on humans who are not sociopaths. Taking another person’s life will traumatize the euthanizer especially trained doctors who repeatedly perform the procedure. According to social journalist Rupert Taylor, the repeated killing of humans causes people to harm themselves, exhibiting behaviors like drinking excessively or committing suicide.

Since euthanasia harms the person performing the act, the U.S. should not have laws to forbid euthanasia, thus punishing the euthanizer. Instead, the U.S. should legalize euthanasia to prevent more trauma to befall euthanizers. This legalization could, then, allow the money it would require to take care of people with trauma from being punished for performing euthanasia to go towards paying for therapy to rehabilitate these people.

In addition, to prevent euthanasia, people who request euthanasia should be rehabilitated like prisoners if they are stopped. According to Open University, the best way to reduce crime is to give people opportunities to improve themselves, such as finding work. In this case, the people requesting the euthanasia obviously thought death was their only solution. Punishment would only exasperate these feelings, but the proper rehabilitation program could reverse the situation.

A reversal of the will to die would solve the entire problem. People performing euthanasia would no longer be in the dilemma of whether to respect someone’s dying wishes or protect their mental well-being, and people wishing to die but cannot commit suicide would not feel imprisoned in their bodies. The legalization of euthanasia with a corollary to punish requests of euthanasia would enable success against the problems created by euthanasia.

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Jacinda Chan

Jacinda graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a dual bachelor's degree in rhetoric and political science. She is currently pursuing a masters in international criminal justice at the University of Portsmouth. She is fluent in German. Since then, she has done various research and writing internships covering Turkish politics at the Diplomatic Courier, writing reports on legal systems in the Middle East, and researching the entire human rights history of Iran and Egypt. At the Levin Institute, she wrote news analysis about human rights in Latin America.

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