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Is assisted suicide really murder or just a good deed?

this is for a cause and effect research project.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Let's straighten out our terms a bit first.

    By most legal defintions, murder requires a malicious intent. If another persons' death is an accident or not malicious, it can NEVER be murder. Consider the not-entirely-dissimilar case of killing someone to defend someone else. It can be manslaughter, or fall under other laws, but murder is simply out of the question.

    It also bears mention that in many, many places suicide itself is NOT illegal. In America, for example. There may be other round-about ways in which authority gets itself involved (questions about the persons' mental health or using 'common law' or 'public welfare' rulings) but all the specific laws about suicide have been pretty much repealed. To an extent, a person can starve themselves to death even in jail or a hospital and there isn't a whole lot that can be done about it.

    So - you may ask - if killing yourself is legal, why is assisting not? The answer lies in the practicality of the situation involved. How do we KNOW a suicidal person is of sound mind, that they explored options, that they wanted to die in a particular way? How do we protect them from self-interested parties who want to 'rid themselves of a burden' or the like? After a person is dead, it can become difficult (if not impossible) to determine the truth of the matter. And we CERTAINLY don't want people pushing others INTO suicide.

    In this way it's no different from some other laws. It is, for example, perfectly legal for two teenagers to have sex in most places, but completely illegal for a third party to record it. How do we know the third party wasn't orchestrating the event?

    All of which explains why things are the way they are, but doesn't go far on the question of whether this is the way things SHOULD be.

    There are those who argue that anyone who wants to commit suicide is by definition not in their right mind. There are those who would point out that many people who want suicide and are prevented later change their minds and are glad they were stopped. And there are those who suggest that it is in society's interest to prevent people from killing themselves because those people may still be of use to society.

    All of which might be reasons to prevent suicide itself... but it seems to me that if we allow the suicide then we must allow assistance in it. For some people, forbidding assistance IS to forbid suicide - how can a paralyzed or dramatically weak person kill themselves? Is it fair to allow the healthiest people to kill themselves but prevent the least healthy from doing so? If anything, that's completely backwards!

    That's my take, anyway, for what it's worth. Allow both or forbid both. Fence-sitting is only creating unfairness.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I feel it is a little of both. It is murder as yes you are killing another plain and simple, but it is also doing something for another. I guess it just depends...to do something like that for someone you either have to really love them or are really sick, right?

    Do not get me wrong, I do not believe suicide has any merit (I do not classify dying for someone or something, whether it be man or idea as suicide). No one should, because no matter what everyone has the strength to stay alive and bear the pain they have. There will always be dark days but always those days of happiness can push the memory of those days away, so long as you let them.

    Sorry for the rant... :]

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  • Ego
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Depends on perspective.

    In the U.S., assisted suicide is murder if someone administers the lethal dose. This is how Dr. Kevorkian landed in jail.

    However, providing someone with the means to kill themselves, or launching a series of events that ultimately results in death may not be illegal. This is how executions work in the U.S. An individual starts a machine that actually triggers the execution.

    BTW - Many religious folk believe that only God can take life, so although assisted suicide may be legal and merciful, it is never morally defensible.

    Source(s): Read "Medicide" by Jack Kevorkian for the definitive primer on assisted suicide.
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  • Joe S
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    To answer your questions, you should define your terms first. Personally, I would rephrase the question to "is assisted suicide a crime?"

    I believe that it is proper for every person to have complete control over their own bodies including the production of their labors - their property. This control only stops when they trespass against the same rights of others. In exercising their property rights, they may voluntarily contract with other people to exchange goods or services.

    Regarding the question of assisted suicide, the matter seems clear within the framework in which I think. A person assisting other people to commit suicide is providing substances to people who willingly (and perhaps gratefully) accept them and use them as they see fit.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It depends on the law of the land one is in. In America, for example, it is against the law and anyone doing it commits a crime.

    Are there instances where any rational person would agree we should let a particular person die who wants to under the circumstances they are in? Or even help them? Of course.

    The sticking point is, I think, twofold. One is people's religious convictions. It is against a lot of religious ideas to ok the killing of people, even though that happens all the time and has happened most in the "name of god".

    Second tho, is this - once you legalize killing, however slightly, by someone other than the State, then those people who always push things will start pushing that - you'll start to see "he told me he wanted to die" or "I just knew she wouldn't want to live like that" or "before she got Alzheimers I got the distinct impression that she'd want to die ..." etc. Then it's a fairly short walk over to "he was psychotic and I'm sure would have wanted to die" or "any convicted child molester must be so unhappy that their behavior is a cry for assistance in suicide", etc. Sounds far-fetched, but you really have to think long and hard before legalizing any kind of private killing.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Good question, and it depends who you ask. Someone who grew up with a strong religious background could say that you are denying a higher power's right to decide when your work here is done.

    I personally feel that, assuming that you are asking this on how it pertains to the United States, the Declaration of Independance gave us the rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; the Constitution also gives us the freedom to worship a God (or some other higher being) or not to have a belief in anything if we so choose.

    That being said, if you are given the right of life shouldn't you also be given the right to die if you're of "sound mind" so choose (given that it is a last resort to stop intolerable suffering)? This also has direct and indirect links to "Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice".

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  • 1 decade ago

    Murder - becuase it is not for a human to decide when it is time to end a life. So for the person suiciding they are murdering themselves - and for the person assisting - they are an accesory to the fact - and if they didn't do it the person would survive - hence it is murder.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I suppose it depends.

    for someone in extreme pain, and the doctors can do nothing, where the patient is going to die no matter what,...

    it's a good deed.

    ----

    in someone's eyes,...that is being selfish, and wants the patient to be around longer,...they'll call it murder.

    ----

    I personally feel,...if I reach the point where I am going to die,..and there is no way out.....suicide is best.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Where you have rights over a life, you can speak of good and evil, as with your pets. But with people you do not have such a right, though some arrogate it to themselves.

    And if assisted-suicide is right, then of course suicide is right, since procuring your own death whether directly or indirectly amounts to the same thing.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think it depends on which side of the suicide you are on.

    In my humble opinion, it is murder. My viewpoint is religious, so it depends on where you want to go with this. I believe that if God felt it was time for that person to die, He would allow them to die. If they are still alive, there is something more that He wants that person or someone around them to learn. God is the only Being with the right to say when it is our time to go.

    Good luck with your research project!

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