Alex W. Mississippi

The Right to Die With Dignity

The subject of medically assisted suicide is becoming more prevalent each day. It's morality is constantly challenged, along with the question of its legality. But for those who choose this path, it is a way to end the constant pain and suffering that they experience. Everyone has the right to live, should they not also have the right to die?

Dear Future President,

I’m writing this letter to you to address the controversial topic of medically assisted suicide, more commonly known as the right to die. Currently in the United States, voluntary euthanasia is illegal in most states due to the fact that some view it as legalizing murder. However, when one’s life is spent day after day without hope of a better future, the decision to die with dignity should be theirs.

Medically assisted suicide was first introduced in the 5th century B.C. by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it has been a heated topic ever since. It has been discussed in America since the time of the colonists who founded the nation. Since then, it has brought up many opposing views from people due to their upbringing or their personal experiences with euthanasia. Those in opposition to the legalization of medically assisted suicide often feel that it is enabling murder without penalties, their reasoning being that the United States government says that no one can give consent to be killed. Consensual homicide is a common defense against those advocating for the right to die, as is the fact that the Supreme Court’s ruling that there is no constitutional “right to die”. But those in favor of assisted suicide argue that for the terminally ill and those in chronic excruciating pain, the right to a dignified death is something that should be respected. To force someone with no will or want to live to do exactly that almost seems a sort of torture. If a patient has no quality of life and has a prognosis with no beneficial outcome, the most we can do as their friends, families, and fellow citizens is give them the option of avoiding embarrassment and pain at the natural end of their life. From the age of eighteen we are supposed to make every other decision in our lives, so it only seems fit that this be one of those decisions for those that desperately need it.

Currently, there are only five states that have legalized assisted suicide: California, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Montana. Each of the first four states has strict criteria for patients seeking euthanasia, such as being eighteen, two oral requests with fifteen days between each, a written request, a diagnosis of a terminal illness that will end in death in six or less months, and the capacity of the patient to make their own healthcare decisions. In the state of Montana, a court must make a ruling for the patient to be allowed to seek euthanasia. The legalization of assisted suicide in these states is not taken lightly, and those who want to pursue suicide are in no simple situation. Many are suffering from a trauma or illness that inhibits them from living proper lives. Instead, they merely exist with no quality of life and no hope. Some do not even have the choice of what they eat or where they go or who they’re with, but the right to die gives them the option of relief from the terminal pain they are going through.

As more states begin to review the legislation for the right to die, others become even more opposed, and with no Supreme Court ruling of the legalization of medically assisted suicide, there will always be disagreements between states and citizens. As future President of the United States, I hope that you are able to realize the importance of this issue and bring to light the benefits of allowing someone to have a painless and dignified death when they decide it is their time. We are all, as American citizens, entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” but when none of things are any longer available to us, we should also be given the liberty to choose to die.


Alex Wade