Assisted Suicide Essay, Research Paper
Should assisted suicide become totally legal in the U.S.? Well, that is the question that Mr. Stephen Carter seems to brutally review in his article ?Rush to a Lethal Judgement,? where it appears that he takes a stance against assisted suicide. He makes a very week argument though, and I feel he would fail at convincing most anyone. His thoughts are well organized, but he fails to really take a side on the debate until the very end and at that point it is no longer very useful.
Carter starts the article with many background facts and instances on euthanasia. He discusses the application of the second and the fourteenth amendments to the constitution as the cornerstone of many assisted suicide supporters? arguments. He goes on to analyze two separate court cases on euthanasia and question the logic behind them. He finishes up by contemplating if class and social status do and should take precedence in deciding whether or not an individual can help another commit suicide and the problems that it presents to the nation as a whole.
After reading this article I decided that it was set up somewhat like a mystery novel where all the facts are given first and then you find out who the killer is at the end. In a similar way, Carter gives a great deal of information on the topic, including court cases and many personal accounts, but fails to make his stance clear until the last few paragraphs. There are very differing reasons for why he might have done this. The first being that he might just be a poor writer, which is really not likely, seeing that he is a professor of law at Yale. The second, and more plausible, reason is that he did this with a very specific purpose in mind. With his presenting both sides? arguments early in the essay he appears to have a more balanced perspective and open mind when he gives his own opinion, which is against making a constitutional amendment protecting assisted suicide. And because he constantly refers to individual morality, if he didn?t use this organization it might appear that he was only ranting and raving because he was a fundamentalist Christian that really had no logical perspective on the situation at all.
At least, this is one possible scenario for his vague organization.
As I said, Carter chooses to use several court cases and quotes as evidence for his opinion, but the problem in his strategy is that the evidence he uses does not really support, nor argue against his point of view. He discusses two court cases in which assisted suicide was ruled to be legal. The courts ruled the same, but used different logic for ruling in the manner they did. He goes on to argue for one case?s reasoning over the other?s, but does not even mention whether or not he agrees with their final decisions as a whole. These reports do add to the readers overall knowledge of the topic he is discussing, but serves no purpose in trying to persuade the reader one way or another. In fact, in reading this article I first assumed that he was arguing against his final stance, but his opinion became more clear much later.
The personal cases used were also very futile, in my opinion. He discussed a psychiatrist who was treating a patient that wanted to commit suicide and reminded Carter that, ?she had the right to kill herself if she wanted.? He never argues this point that he makes. He only states it and then moves on to another topic. He later writes about Jack Kevorkian and his constant battles with the Michigan judicial system. Once again, he does not argue for or against this situation, he only states it for the record and then moves onto another topic. In this way, he fails to truly support his position.
His poor organization quickly points out that he really has no clear thesis statement. The point he is trying to get across is eventually revealed, but a true thesis statement is not evident throughout the article. As I stated earlier, he may have done this on purpose so as not to reveal his stance too early and hence, give the audience an entirely different perspective as they read through the entire article. Another possible scenario is that he didn?t start the article with a clear perspective on what he wanted to get across to the reader, and therefore didn?t even begin to start his paper with any sort of thesis or main idea.
The author does bring up several interesting points, though, which really deserve some consideration. For example, he discusses several contradicting points the constitution makes on the idea of assisted suicide. He points out that if the constitution allows assisted suicide, then many states are violating the law when they involuntarily hospitalize patients who try to commit suicide. This is a point that makes one ponder the present system and possible changes that should be made. He also points out that men commit suicide more often than women, but women attempt suicide almost three times more often than men. If assisted suicide were allowed, then this statistic might change due to fact of assistance from medical professionals could help women perform the act of suicide much more successfully. Finally, he brings up the point of abortion and how it could potentially be considered assisted suicide, although the fetus doesn?t really have a say in the matter. All of these points are worth mentioning because they do an excellent job of provoking thought within the reader. In this way he only better grasp the reader?s attention. I felt this was a very successful strategy in gaining my interest in the article in general.
I must say that I did disagree with the article?s suggestion that a constitutional amendment should be held off for ?moral contemplation? and to let society deal with assisted suicide as a whole. Government that waits forever does not work. If the majority of a society feels one way or another about an issue then that issue should be brought to the public?s attention and dealt with. I do not see the benefit of waiting or putting the issue on the back burner. Individuals should be well aware of the subject and the problem it presents, as well as their opinion on how it would be best remedied. I personally believe that assisted suicide is acceptable. If a person is bent on taking their own life, then helping them out is only shortening and simplifying the entire process. However, I can see the opposing view and how they might react to such an amendment. There are moral questions for some as well as questioning the present sound judgement of an individual who wants to commit suicide. Also there is the possibility that assisted suicide cases could also be mistaken for those involving foul play in a victims death. I just believe that these cases are too few to stop things for the better good.
In conclusion, I believe the author did a poor job of presenting and supporting his argument. I felt the evidence he used was unbiased and therefore did not offer any support to the point he was trying to make. Also, there was no clear stance throughout the paper until the very end leaving the reader only to wonder where the author was leading him/her. For these reasons I think the essay could have been better presented.