The Death with Dignity Act refers to a bill that has been implemented in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont and has been around since 1997. It has become controversial because it paves the way to euthanasia and gives terminally ill patients the legal right to end their life. Before patients can do this, though, they must first meet several criteria, which include being 18 years of age or older and having a terminal illness that would lead to death in six months.
Many people support the Death with Dignity Act, but it has also received criticisms from moralists and religious groups. To know more about this act and understand the controversies that stem from it, you need to learn about its advantages and disadvantages.
List of Pros of the Death with Dignity Act
1. It gives people control over their life.
The Death with Dignity Act supports the idea that a human being is the master of his own life and should have a say about his future. Through the Act, terminally ill people can choose to end their life instead of going through painful experiences that would make them lose their dignity.
2. It spares people from pain and suffering.
Many terminal illnesses often lead to weeks and months of pain. This is particularly true with late-stage cancers, which are often untreatable and can cause the patient to go through unbearable suffering. By having the right to die, patients can avoid going through extreme pain and discomfort and ensure they can spend their last days on earth doing the things they want to do instead of going through physical and mental anguish.
3. It helps reduce healthcare costs.
It might seem callous to look at death this way, but it’s important to note that hospice care cost Americans millions of dollars every year. When patients decide to end their life, they’ll save themselves and their family a substantial amount of money. They’ll also prevent their loved ones from going into debt to fund their hospice care.
List of Cons of the Death with Dignity Act
1. It goes against religious principles.
Many religious groups believe that only God has the power to end a person’s life. They argue that the Death with Dignity Act allows patients and doctors to “play God” and do something that only the Higher Being has the right to do.
2. It goes against moral codes.
Killing a person (whether with his permission or not) is considered to be morally wrong in many societies. It also goes against the ethical beliefs of many doctors and other healthcare staff, who believe that their number one priority should be saving — and not ending — the lives of patients.
3. It can lead to abuse.
The Death with Dignity Act can be abused by family members who, as a way to further their own agenda, can convince their terminally ill relative to opt for euthanasia. This can be dangerous since there’s no way for the authorities to confirm if a person’s decision to end his life is a voluntary decision or if it is influenced by others.
The Death with Dignity Act can be admirable in that it allows terminally ill patients to avoid suffering and have full control over their lives. However, it can also be criticized since it goes against the moral and religious beliefs of many people.