Suicide 3


Suicide 3 Essay, Research Paper

Since the beginning of time, people have been committing suicide. Self inflicted death, or

suicide, can be defined as “choosing the mode, time, situation, or occasion for ending

one’s life.” In general, the word suicide has a negative connotation and is looked upon

unfavorably. Yet in some circumstances, killing oneself can be considered acceptable or

even the right thing to do. There are several aspects to suicide and the law, but I am only

going to discuss a few of them. First of all why anyone would want to take their own life

and what is a rational suicide. Secondly, in some ways assistance has played in the area of

suicide. Next, what the constitution says and see if any of the states have allowed suicide.

Finally, we ll study some of the cases that have been brought before the American courts.

Suicide has become a big part of American society, year after year more people are

taking their own lives for many different reasons. A lot of philosophers have found all the

reasons of rational suicide. A rational suicide has been given five basic criteria that usually

must be met for the person’s act to be considered rational. The five criteria which a person

must show for their suicide to be considered rational are, “the ability to reason, realistic

world view, adequacy of information, avoidance of harm, and accordance with

fundamental interests. A lot of suicides are grouped in the rational category because they

are committed so the person can be saved from the pain they may be experiencing from a

terminal disease. This seems to be just about the only true rational and morally correct

reason why a person should commit suicide. Yet a lot of times these patients are “heavily

sedated, so that it is impossible for the mental processes of decision leading to action to

occur. In other words these patients have a rational reason to commit suicide, yet their

mind is not capable of making that decisions. So if terminally ill patients are the only ones

who have a good rational reason to commit suicide, then where does that leave everyone

else? Well just about everyone else commits suicide because of a little thing that enters

everyone’s life at some time and that thing is called depression. Depression can come from

several different things, such as a loss of something like a job, a loved one, a limb such as

an arm or leg, or anything else that might be held dear to that person. Other things could

be rejection at home or in the work place, abuse, and sometimes even the thought of

getting old and not wanting to know what tomorrow holds in store. There are a lot of

arguments that these are rational reasons but just because you are having a bad day doesn’t

actually mean you have a rational reason to go out and throw yourself off a building or tie

a rope around your neck.

Another big issue about suicide today is the one that deals with assisted suicide.

Assisted suicide is where a patient that is terminally ill comes to a physician or even a

friend or family member at times and asks them to help end their life. There are several

different ways to assist someone in suicide, you can inject them with a lethal amount of

drugs, you can turn off their machines that is helping keep them alive, there have even

been cases where the friend has put a bullet in the person’s body. The place that the law

has really played a major role in American society is in assisted suicides

The big question in America is whether or not you have the constitutional, or

moral, right to commit suicide. There have been very strong arguments for both cases.

Joel Feinberg argues that the constitution does not give us that right simply because of

Thomas Jefferson’s famous words “that all men are endowed with certain unalienable

Rights, that among these are Life . He says “How could a person have a right to terminate

his own life if his right to life is in alienable? Yet others have had a strong argument for the

other side also, and their interpretation of the constitution is totally different. Alan Sullivan

argues that the Constitution has given us the right to have self-determination over matters

in our life. The first amendment alone gives us the freedom to determine what religion we

want to believe in, and the right to say what we want when we want to say it. The

fourteenth amendment gives us the right to determine what we want for ourselves.

Sullivan says, That suicide is a ‘fundamental right’ and those are explicitly guaranteed by

the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court has recognized another class of fundamental rights

whose source lies outside specific guarantees of the Constitution, such as the rights to

marital and sexual privacy, the right of a woman to exercise control over her body, the

right to travel freely from one place to another, and the right to learn certain subjects in

school.” Sullivan feels the right to take your own life falls into this category of

fundamental rights. He just wants to make sure that the person who is about to take his

own life is of sound mind and will not do unnecessary harm to himself or anyone else that

is around him.

Yet the law really can’t do anything to someone who has killed themselves. The

place that the law has really played a major role in American society is in assisted suicides.

There have been many cases where family members and friends have been prosecuted for

aiding or assisting in a suicide. One of the most famous cases was the People vs. Roberts.

According to Leslie Pickering Francis, “It occurred in Michigan, in 1920, Frank Robert’s

wife was incurably ill and bed ridden with Multiple Sclerosis. At her request, he mixed

poison and left it by her bedside; she drank the poison quite clearly knowing what she was

doing. The Michigan Supreme court affirmed Robert’s conviction of murder, reasoning

that he had intended his wife to be able to take her life as she wished, and that she would

have been unable to do so without his aid. The law has been determined by the states and

the states alone, the Supreme Court has not interfered yet. The states have done one of

three things, “First, twenty-five states, including nine with recent penal code revisions,

contain no separate statutory treatment of assisting suicide.

Yet the law really can’t do anything to someone who has killed themselves. The

place that the law has really played a major role in American society is in assisted suicides.

As of now you have the right to commit suicide anytime you want. Yet depending on what

state you live in you could be punished by the law for assisting in a suicide. Only time can

tell what will become of suicide and the law. Today there are still cases in the court

battling to try and legalize assisted suicide. Suicide is not the way out of everything

though. I understand in some cases that it might be the best thing , like saving a loved one

from excruciating pain yet nothing can be so bad that it deserves taking your

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