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Assisted Suicide In recent years debate has intensified in the US over the question of whether terminally ill people should have the legal right to obtain a doctors help in ending their lives The campaign to legalize assisted suicide also called the right-to-die movement has been under way since the 1970s but has gained steam in the 1990s Proponents believe that mentally competent terminally ill people should be able to seek and receive a doctors help to die Mental competence is a legal term that means that a person is of sound mind -- lucid and not suffering from any mental impairment or disturbance Assisted suicide is either barred by law or has been prohibited by court rulings in almost every state Attempts to legalize assisted suicide through voter initiative were defeated in Washington State in 1991 and in California in 1992 More than 20 state legislatures have considered and defeated similar laws Much like the controversy over abortion the debate over assisted suicide is an emotionally charged one in which morality medical ethics and religion all play a part Respected medical professionals and ethicists occupy positions on each side of the debate over assisted suicide Both opponents and proponents of assisted suicide believe that their position is the most compassionate and morally correct one Those in favor of legalizing assisted suicide say that if a persons life has deteriorated to the point of misery or meaninglessness no government entity or medical facility should force that person to go on living They point out that the Supreme Court has upheld the right of individuals to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment In my opinion there is little difference between the right to refuse treatment to continue life and the right to obtain medication to end life The economic objections to physician-assisted suicide fall into three categories First it is feared that physicians and other health care providers such as hospitals and managed care
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