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Debate - Capital Punishment and Assisted Suicide

Suicide of any type is considered a sin and assisted death goes against religious beliefs, but do we show more compassion to animals than we do to ourselves? An attempt to answer this question is made through a review of the arguments on both sides of the debate, namely the Right to Die arguments and the Right to Live arguments. The key elements of each side of the debate are reviewed, followed by a conclusions section in which the elements are examined in relation to the thesis statement.

Batting (2005) states that the phrase 'right to die' typically refers to a host of issues, both legal and social, that surround end of life decisions such as whether an individual should continue to live in a diminished or enfeebled state, whether a terminally ill patient should be allowed to and/or given help with suicide efforts. Specifically, right to die centers around who should be allowed to make decisions about one's own death.

The policy of granting people a right to die has both advantages and disadvantages. Hillyard and Dombrink (2001) state that the advantages include allowing a person to feel that there is dignity to their death. It also gives the person a sense of empowerment in a situation where a terminal illness is making him or her feel powerless. Choosing death with dignity is also a means to end the guilt that many fatally ill patients feel as the disease saps family and relatives' resources. Further, it allows them to live to the point where they feel their quality of life is not seriously compromised but no further.

On the other hand, Hillyard and Dombrink (2002) report several disadvantages that have traditionally been associated with right to die policies. One of the most important of these is that it could well involve a 'slippery slope' in which life is devalued overall, so devalued that older people will be pressured to use the option against their will in order that others may profit (e.g., directors of ...

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