Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Boston University Public Interest Law Journal

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Abstract

This essay examines, and rejects, several closely-held notions in the discourse on assisted suicide and euthanasia.8 The concept of a legal right to end one's life must yield to the pragmatic assessment of medical factors affecting the dying and the treatment options available to them. The legal entitlement framework has fostered a misperception that we must choose between assisted dying and a drawn-out, painful demise. Rather, this essay posits that end-of-life decisions-including, but not limited to, assisted suicide and euthanasia properly belong within the matrix of competent, compassionate medical care. Patients, aided by physicians and loved ones, can be helped to make informed medical choices based on a range of treatment and life alternatives. In presenting these options, we outline the central legal and ethical arguments for and against assisted dying, elaborating on the merits and inconsistencies of each position.

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