Religious Views on Physician Assisted Suicide

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Imagine this scenario. You have an older sibling who is mentally unstable that has been seeing a psychiatrist for their instability. In doing so, you are unaware that your older sibling told the doctor that he/she wanted to die and there was no more use helping them. The doctor reluctantly agrees and prescribes medication of a lethal dose/medication containing a lethal substance. Whilst doing this, your sibling takes the medication in hopes of “feeling better” but in turn, they end up dying due to said medication. This is defined as Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS). According to the dictionary definition provided Miss Roxanne Dryden-Edwards on Medicine net, “The voluntary termination of one’s own life by administration of a lethal substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician.” However, this is not to be confused with Euthanasia. Euthanasia differs from PAS due to Euthanasia being direct.

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By saying this, I mean such as if the psychiatrist was giving your older sibling access to the lethal dosage and allowing them to retrieve it on his/her own time. However, if the doctor takes an active role in administering the lethal substance/dosage right then and there, then this is considered Euthanasia. This being said, this is a very serious problem for people of today. For example, issues of when Physician-Assisted Suicide is relevant can be pertaining to the mentally ill. However, with cases such as mental illnesses, it can go either way. To some people, myself included, depression is a monster that will eventually eat you alive.

To others, depression is the driving cause of what’s making someone’s mind think harmfully. All the same, illnesses such as this can be lived with and sure, it will be hard to do but mental illness doesn’t necessarily qualify for the use of PAS. Yet, it all boils down to the same principle, in the end, quality of life. Many of those suffering from terminal, mental, physical, and so on and so forth illnesses have expressed the feelings of their own quality of life. Some depression patients would rather die than drown in their own sorrows. Some Dementia/Alzheimer’s patients would rather die than forget a loved one’s name and/or face.

So, who’s to say if their decision is ethical or not? To them, at that current time, it may very well be the only other option. Which brings me to my second point, where. Yet at the same time, in most states of the US, PAS and Euthanasia are frowned upon. In fact, according to Virginia Euthanasia laws, “Only Washington and Oregon allow physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill or otherwise suffering individuals who wish to end their lives.” And finally, this is all relevant in the ‘how’ aspects of the problem. How PAS is relevant is due to the psychological damage the remaining members of the family who are still alive. Some of those members may even grow to hate the doctor who would dare let their loved one go through with it. Though, on the other side, they may also thank the doctor for putting their cherished one out of their misery.

Honestly, like this entire argument, it’s a double-edged sword. In saying this, how PAS is also relevant is due to religion and culture. For example, in the Catholic religion, under no circumstance is one allow to commit any form of suicide for ANY reason. This goes the same for culture as some feel the same way. And finally, how PAS is relevant is legal. A minor, from my own standpoint, should not be able to give consent of their own death. I feel that is a parent’s job. Which all of this, in turn, brings me to where all of this began.

History of physician-assisted suicide: How much do you trust your physician? Do you trust them enough to put the faith of your life in their hands? Physician-assisted suicide is the practice of putting the end to a terminally ill person who requested this option. The practice of physician-assisted suicide has become something as of the November election, five states and Washington D.C. have laws on the books allowing. While it normally back then this process takes place outside the hospital setting, the practice is bound to find its way into emergency care units. On October 27, 1997, Oregon being the very first state to do so legalized physician-assisted suicide. This practice started with The Oregon Death with Dignity Act, becoming the first law in American history permitting physician-assisted suicide. To obtain a prescription for a lethal medication, the law requires that the patient be an adult resident of Oregon who is “capable” (can communicate and/or decisions about their healthcare) and who has an illness that is expected to lead to death within six months’ time.

Physician-assisted suicide entails making lethal means available to the patient to be used at a time of the patient’s own choosing. By contrast, voluntary active euthanasia entails the physician taking an active role in carrying out the patient’s request, and usually involves intravenous delivery of a lethal substance. Throughout the first year of legalized physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, the decision to request and use a prescription for lethal medication was associated with concern about the loss of autonomy or control of bodily functions, not with fear of intractable pain or concern about financial loss. Furthermore, it was found that the choice of physician-assisted suicide was not an accomplice with a level of education or if health insurance covered it.

There is a big controversy issue on Physician-Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia being that both are kind of the same in some type of way. Assisted Suicide is suicide committed with the aid of another person it can sometimes be a physician. Euthanasia aggressive is the providing of drugs to force the death in a person. In this modern time, we still have suicide as a taboo subject. Religious people find alarming and immorally to self-annihilation. The video “Why Legalizing #Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is a Bad Idea”, mention that we are giving our life to be decided by the government, as it will represent as not equal. Suicide is a word that brings us to discuss many strong topics and more likely is a scary subject to talk directly about it. In religious groups suicide is not considered the right thing to do or it is thought of incorrect.

Christianity assumes that it’s an unforgivable sin & go to hell; but that’s a misconception that views sin & forgiveness, whereas if we don’t confess our sin of suicide after it takes place. They got that idea from Augustine & medieval theology than the Bible; like Samson died at his own hands, but still was included in Hebrews 11 & in Romans 8 “ Neither life nor death,” not even death by suicide, could “ separate us from the love of God in Christ.” Judaism see suicide as unfavorable to the religion because preserving human life is among the highest duties; Jews believe that the body belongs to god & in ending your life is not really seen as your authority to do so & is regarded as stealing or rejecting God.

But I did find that there is one exception in cases of martyrdom (Extreme suffering; Torment) Where Jews are obliged to sacrifice their lives than to violate the three cardinal sins of idolatry, murder & sexual immorality. Well, Jews legal the standard for suicide requires that a person be sound of mind, rabbis disqualify those who take their own life & categories them mentally ill. Islam like other religious groups this group view suicide as sinful & detrimental to one’s spiritual journey. In the Quran, God is said to be “the Most Merciful the Most Kind” & forgives all sins, but the great sin of unbelief is deemed unforgivable.

Despite all of this there is an unpopular action committed in the course of jihad resulting in one’s own death are not considered suicide (e.g. suicide bombing). This act is considered a form a martyrdom; however, there’s a Quranic evidence against that during in the killing of innocents are involved they are considered as wrongdoers & transgressors. In the end, people will claim that Islam does permit the use of suicide but only against the unjust & oppressors if one feels there’s no other option & life ends in death.

Different religious views and their oppositions have provided their proposed solutions to lessen the people who are interested in acquiring the said practice or even ban the regulation of PAS. One of the proposed solutions is improving and making Palliative Care available to everyone. According to, Palliative is specifically designed for people who are in critical condition. Its main purpose is to alleviate pain and suffering from their illness. However, due to the fact that not everyone could afford healthcare especially here in the US, it is impossible to provide specialized care for the people who consider a peaceful death. Religious groups have directly spoken about their opposing views like Catholicism, for example. They believe that life is a gift from God, and it should not be taken prematurely.

Also, Buddhism considers that it is immoral to end your life or to provide services to end someone’s life (Religious Views on End-of-Life Issues). On that note, these religious groups have a similar take on why physician-assisted suicide is violating rules of morality. Also, the implementation of Assisted Suicide Ban Act had been placed in order to help and protect people who are victims of physician-assisted suicide. Even though PAS provides a solution to relieve pain by gaining control over their lives, there are people who are being deceived to die with dignity because some of them are terminally misdiagnosed. This regulation is set as a guideline for those who truly want peace before their death. This somewhat allows people the right to choose what path their want to take even if it means to take the immoral or unethical way. 

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Religious Views on Physician Assisted Suicide. (2022, Feb 01). Retrieved March 28, 2023 , from

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