Website Title: The New York Times
Article Title: The Last Right: Why America is Moving Slowly on Assisted Suicide
Publisher: The New York Times
Electronically Published: October 11, 2014
Date Accessed: November 06, 2014
Author: Ross Douthat
Douthat, Ross. “The Last Right: Why America Is Moving Slowly on Assisted Suicide.” The New York Times. N.p., 11 Oct. 2014. Web. 06 Nov. 2014.
Ross Douthat is a conservative New York Times columnist, as well as an author and a blogger. He wrote “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics,” published in 2012, and he co-wrote with Reihan Salam the article “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream,” published in 2008. He was once the senior editor of The Atlantic and began writing for the Times in 2009 and writes mostly about politics, religion, higher education and moral values.
The New York Times is an American newspaper that was founded in 1851 and has one more Pulitzer Prizes than any other news organizations. The printed version of The New York times is the largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States and is ranked 39th in the world based solely on circulation. Though the paper claims that it is completely unbiased it does have many liberal and democratic undertones in a variety of articles.
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to point out that assisted suicide is a choice that shouldn’t be confined to only a handful of states. The author, Ross Douthat, begins to try and sway his audience by opening his case with the heartbreaking story of Brittney Maynard. Maynard was a 29 year old woman who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and wouldn’t have much time to live. He tells the readers that she decided to take her life in her own hands because she feared the side effects of the terminal cancer. Her and her family had to uproot their lives to move from California to Oregon, one of the few states that allows assisted suicide. He then proceeds to discredit those who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide by saying that those who oppose it are trying to prove that life is always worth living, until your natural last breath. But when the time comes and they are asked what a woman like Maynard has to live for while battling the a terminal disease they have no legitimate answers. Douthat tells his audience that allowing death with dignity is the only real humane thing to do.
Audience: The audience of this article is those who have taken stands on assisted suicide, whether they are for it, against it or even on the fence. It’s meant to sway people to agree with death with dignity.
Summary: Brittney Maynard was a 29 year old woman who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, she was going to die. There was no avoiding it. Her and her family uprooted their lives so she could take her life into her own hands and die on her terms. By doing this she avoided going through the all the pain of terminal brain cancer, and the side effects such as the personality changes, mood swings, loss of basic physical functions, and deteriorating mental state. There she will meet her inevitable death on November 1, 2014, but it will be on her terms and she will not be suffering. Maynard was going to die, no matter what treatment she received matter and even if she did receive treatment it would just have been prolonging her suffering.
Death with dignity legalization shouldn’t be moving this slowly, but for some reason people are still opposing it, even though it’s a better choice than suffering. Even those opposed to death with dignity are often at a loss for words when asked what someone whose last few months are filled with nothing but pain and suffering and then death have to live for. Death with dignity helps avoid most of the pain and suffering with the same awful outcome, and that’s what should matter. That the person who was dying, died as they chose to and didn’t go through any unnecessary pain.
Website Title: CNN
Article Title: When Assisted Suicide is not the Answer
Electronically Published: October 8, 2014
Date Accessed: November 09, 2014
Author: Sandeep Jauhar
Jauhar, Sandeep. “When Assisted Suicide Is Not the Answer.” CNN. N.p., 8 Oct. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
Sandeep Jauhar has a Ph.D. in physics from Berkeley college. He then studied at a New York teaching hospital, and it was there that Jauhar struggled with his decision to go into medicine when a girlfriend’s incurable illness made him want a profession that could help him impact people’s lives directly. Today he is a cardiologist and the director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He also writes regularly for The New York Times.
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to show that a person can support assisted suicide, but also believe that it shouldn’t be used frequently or for all cases. The author of this article, Sandeep Jauhar, tells us of an 84 year old woman that was once his patient who was suffering with the end stages of heart failure and begged him to help her die. Jauhar goes on to tell his readers that he went to the ethics committee pleading her case, but they said no, and that he should just put his patient on a morphine drip though she wasn’t in pain. He tells readers how he does believe that while assisted suicide is an answer, it’s not always the right one. He thinks that in most cases hospice is a better solution than assisted suicide, and as a doctor he states that he would like to see assisted suicide being legal but used sparingly. He explains that sometimes it is the best option for a patient who is suffering from a terribly fatal disease to turn to assisted suicide and though everyone may not agree with it, sometimes it’s all that can be done.
Audience: The audience of this article is for people who do not support the right of assisted suicide. It is meant to show that it’s not necessary to fully support the idea of it, it just needs to be accepted that sometimes it’s the best or only option.
Summary: When the story of Brittney Maynard, a 29 year old diagnosed with terminal brain cancer whose life was ended with the help of assisted suicide, went viral, memories of an 84 year old patient suffering from the end stages of heart failure surfaced. She begged for me to help her die, because she couldn’t deal with living a life that wasn’t really living. She said that she was only half there and that she just didn’t want to go on like that anymore. So I brought it to the ethics committee and her pleaded her case, but it was turned down. I was told to just put her on a morphine drip even though she wasn’t currently in pain. And while I eventually did put her on a morphine drip, I acknowledged the fact that assisted suicide in her case, may have been the best option for her. In most cases hospice is a better solution, and it can be used to make terminally ill patients comfortable and live a decent life before the face the inevitable. But sometimes there’s just nothing anyone can do and while assisted suicide should be legal in all states it should only be used for extreme cases.
Website Title: Life News
Article Title: Brittany Maynard’s Assisted Suicide Corrupts Medicine: Killing Isn’t Medical Treatment
Publisher: Life News
Electronically Published: November 7, 2014
Date Accessed: November 09, 2014
Author: Wesley J. Smith
Smith, Wesley J. “Brittany Maynard’s Assisted Suicide Corrupts Medicine: Killing Isn’t Medical Treatment.” Life News. N.p., 7 Nov. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
Wesley J. Smith is a lawyer, an author, and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. He works as a lawyer and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. As an author, he has published several works, the most recent of them being, “The War on Humans,” in 2014.
Life News is an independent news agency that is devoted to reporting news that affects the pro-life movement. Life News was founded in 1992 to bring pro-life news to pro-life communities. They are not affiliated with any organization, religious group, political party or church denomination. They are heavily influenced by religion and are extremely liberal.
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to completely destroy all beliefs that legalizing assisted suicide would ever be a good idea. Wesley J. Smith, the author of the article starts by saying that it would corrupt medicine, and that it would be a disgrace to the medical field if it was legalized throughout the country. He says that being a medical professional includes helping people, healing them, not helping them in their death. Smith says that killing is against the oath of medical workers and killing isn’t a medical treatment.
Audience: The intended audience is for people who support the right of assisted suicide, and those who supported Brittany Maynard’s decision. The author wants everyone to realize that assisted suicide isn’t and should never be a part of the medical field.
Summary: Death with dignity being legalized would be a complete disgrace to the medical field everywhere. It would corrupt the practice of medicine because killing is not a medical treatment. Assisted suicide completely throws medical ethics out the window. It’s a doctors job to care for patients, help heal them, support them, not to help them take their life. Medical professionals should try and make their patients realize that they should fight to live, all the way until their natural last breath. Their lives should be lived to the fullest until their last day that is destined for them, not the day they choose.
My Take: The process of legalizing death with dignity laws should definitely be sped up because no one should be able to force another person to live. When death is inevitable, no matter what choices a person makes or treatments she receives, if she chooses to die on her terms, she should be allowed to. A person should never be forced to live a life that doesn’t consist of much living, because that is inhumane. People are humane enough to when it’s time to put the family dog down, but they don’t seem to see the issue with forcing a human being to live a life filled with constant pain and suffering. A person who chooses assisted suicide most likely wants to live, but knows that what the future has in store for them won’t have much of a meaning to it. When death is inevitable, it shouldn’t matter how the person dies. Dauthat’s article asks the question if a person doesn’t want to live, then what are they actually living for? And he gives us the answer, nothing at that point. A person who is terminally ill is being cut short. The quality of life she is going to be living, isn’t really living. She’ll be hooked up to machines, or bed ridden and in pain. Living like that, just prolongs her suffering and the suffering of her loved ones. They are sitting there, completely helpless as they watch the person they once knew, seize to exist as the terminal disease takes them over. And while I agree that death with dignity should be legal in all states, I don’t think it should be limited to just those with terminal diseases. I believe that assisted suicide should be able to help someone whose quality of life is not really a life anymore. For example, a person who is completely paralyzed, unable to do anything that he once loved. He’s alive but he’s not living, he has moved on yet his body continues to live. He’s nothing but a shell, and he’s ready to die. There is no reason why he shouldn’t be able to die if he chooses to. Jauhar makes a good argument stating that assisted suicide should only be used when completely necessary, but who should have the power to make that decision? The only person who should be able to decide when they die is the person who is facing death. To grant one terminally ill person the right to die while forcing another to live is just unfair. I don’t think anyone should be able to make that decision other than the person suffering. People who argue that death with dignity will disgrace the medical profession are wrong. It’s a doctors’ job to help their patients as much as they possibly can, and if the only way to help them is for assisting them in a painless, peaceful death, I see nothing wrong in that.