Society's Search for a Legal and Ethical Basis of Physician-Assisted Suicide

20 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2008  

Rebecca C. Morgan

Stetson University College of Law

D. Dixon Sutherland

Stetson University (DeLand)

Date Written: June 2008

Abstract

A review of the way physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is being addressed in the United States reveal three models, each functioning out of distinctive concepts of autonomy: (1) litigation, which utilizes philosophical autonomy; (2) legislation, which utilizes political autonomy; and (3) act of conscience by a physician, which utilizes consumer autonomy. Each model raises a correspondingly distinct set of ethical questions and challenges centered around their point of reference - the judicial system, voters, or the doctor-patient relationship. The challenge for religion is to address PAS in solidarity with sufferers, physicians, and the community, rather than retreating into iconoclastic dogmas.

Keywords: physician-assisted suicide, end-of-life decisionmaking, dying, ethical dilemmas, palliative care, religion and dying

JEL Classification: I10, I19, K10, K19

Suggested Citation

Morgan, Rebecca C. and Sutherland, D. Dixon, Society's Search for a Legal and Ethical Basis of Physician-Assisted Suicide (June 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1141216 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1141216

Rebecca C. Morgan (Contact Author)

Stetson University College of Law ( email )

1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States

D. Dixon Sutherland

Stetson University (DeLand) ( email )

421 N. Woodland Blvd
DeLand, FL 32723
United States
(386)822-8931 (Phone)

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