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The Law of the UK and the US on Assisted Death - Essay Example

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The law of the United Kingdom and the United States on assisted Death Name: Course: Date: Institution: Tutor: The law of the United Kingdom and the United States on assisted Death Introduction Assisted suicide or assisted death is a term used where a person or an individual helps another procure his death…
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The Law of the UK and the US on Assisted Death
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Download file to see previous pages In the present day there have been attempts to legalize assisted suicide. This attempt has met strong opposition from human rights activists citing issues of right to life. However some states in the United States have legalized assisted dying while it remains illegal in other states. In the United Kingdom assisted death is still illegal despite the many efforts by the parliament to pass a bill in its support. Legal Concerns Three American states namely Washington, Montana and Oregon have legalized assisted suicide. Oregon has enacted the Oregon Death with Dignity Act which has legalized assisted death. Washington too has enacted its own law namely the Washington Death with Dignity Act which too has legalized assisted suicide. In Montana assisted death was legalized via a ruling in the case of Baxter v Montana 20091. However, there are many barriers to use of these provisions considering the fact that the right to life which is a constitutional right guaranteed by the constitution of the United States. An instance where the use of the provisions of the enactments has been limited is in Oregon where a physician may prescribe a medication which however must be self-administered. The person is required to be a resident of Oregon. To escape criminal liability two oral requests from the patient and a written request for prescription are a requirement. The doctor must also give a written confirmation that the act by the patient was informed and voluntary. All these limitations to these provisions check the balance between the constitutional rights to life. In some states there are enacted laws which specifically prohibit assisted suicide. For example in Alaska, Statute 11.41.120(a) (2) specifically prohibits assisted dying2. The supreme court of Alaska declared unanimously in the case of Sampson V. Alaska, that the right to assisted suicide was unconstitutional and upheld the Alaska law that prohibits the assisted suicide3. Florida State’s Statute 782.08 and euthanasia law specifically prohibit assisted dying. In Krischer v Mclver, the supreme court of Florida ruled that under the constitution of Florida the right to assisted suicide was prohibited4. The Oregon state legalized assisted dying after November the year 1994 when Oregon citizens voted for a physician assisted suicide by their vote of 51% to 49%. Later in the year 1997, the citizens rejected an attempt to overturn this law by a majority of 60%5. The Michigan law expressly prohibits assisted suicide. The law provides that a person is guilty of criminal offence if he or she knows that another person intends to commits suicide and with the intention to assist that person himself or herself provides a means or means through which that individuals kills himself or herself6. The person is also guilty where he or she directly participates in the act of killing the person committing suicide. Thus it’s still an offence in instance of attempted suicide. In most of the States of United States, it is a criminal offence to assist someone to commit suicide. Alpers and Benard affirm that churches and human rights activist have strongly fought against any attempt to enact laws that allow assisted dying7. This has been a bone of contention for a long period. Humanitarian groups now feel that the law is oppressive to the extent that it deprives an individual their right of being autonomous beings. Thus there have been debates that the law allowing attempted suicide is incompatible with the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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