.. interpretation of the constitution is totally different. Alan Sullivan argues for this point by saying “that the U.S. law has never addressed this issue squarely. On the one hand, the Constitution protects the right of self-determination in many significant matters of personal choice, including choices involving treatment of one’s own body.
On the other hand, the law also appears to recognize state interests in preventing suicide. Because the Supreme Court has never spelled out the principle determining which personal choices are protected from state interference and which are not, the Court cannot be said to have taken a stand on the issue of suicide. The only resolution to this problem is to go in favor of a right to self-determination in the matter of suicide, subject to appropriate tests of competency.”(Mayo 229) What Sullivan is saying is that the Constitution has given us the right to have self-determination over matters in our life. The first amendment alone gives us the freedom to determine what religion we want to believe in, and the right to say what we want when we want to say it. The fourteenth amendment gives us the right to determine what we want for ourselves.
Sullivan says, “That suicide is a ‘fundamental right’ and those are explicitly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court has recognized another class of fundamental right whose source lies outside specific guarantees of the Constitution, such as the rights to marital and sexual privacy, the right of a woman to exercise control over her body, the right to travel freely from one place to another, and the right to learn certain subjects in school.”(Mayo 232) Sullivan feels the right to take your own life falls into this category of fundamental rights. Yet he does put a stipulation on the right to suicide and that is what he said about showing signs of competency. He just wants to make sure that the person who is about to take his own life is of sound mind and will not do unnecessary harm to himself or anyone else that is around him. Yet the law really can’t do anything to someone who has killed themselves.
The place that the law has really played a major role in American society is in assisted suicides. There have been many cases where family members and friends have been prosecuted for aiding or assisting in a suicide. One of the most famous cases was the People vs. Roberts. According to Leslie Pickering Francis, “It occurred in Michigan, in 1920, Frank Robert’s wife was incurably ill and bedridden with Multiple Sclerosis.
At her request, he mixed poison and left it by her bedside; she drank the poison quite clearly knowing what she was doing. The Michigan Supreme court affirmed Robert’s conviction of murder, reasoning that he had intended his wife to be able to take her life as she wished, and that she would have been unable to do so without his aid.”(Mayo 255) The law has been determined by the states and the states alone, the Supreme Court has not interfered yet. The states have done one of three things says Francis, “First, twenty-five states, including nine with recent penal code revisions, contain no separate statutory treatment of assisting suicide. Only a few of these have passed on the question of whether assisting suicide falls within their criminal homicide statutes. Of those states which have, most, like Michigan, have argued that assisting suicide is murder.
A second approach is to make assisting suicide a form of manslaughter.. The third approach is to treat assisting suicide as a separate statutory offense altogether.”(Mayo 256) This approach has led to what is called the Model Penal Code- Section 210.5. Causing or Aiding Suicide (1) Causing Suicide as Criminal Homicide. A person may be convicted of criminal homicide for causing another to commit suicide only if he purposely causes such suicide by force, duress of deception. (2) Aiding or Soliciting Suicide as an Independent Offense. A person who purposely aids or solicits another to commit suicide is guilty of a felony of the second degree if his conduct causes such suicide or an attempted suicide, and otherwise of a misdemeanor.
Each state has adopted their own policy and as you can see some have not even taken a stand on the issue. They have just let it hang in the wind and hope that nothing ever comes of assisted suicide. Yet the one place states have been lenient on is that in the case of families turning life support systems off. This happens everyday in our society and it usually is left up to the families and friends in deciding the fate of a loved one who has slipped into na irreversible coma or is technically brain dead. Suicide is a very touchy situation to most people. Almost everybody has known or heard of someone they knew, that has committed suicide. And a lot of us will have to deal with it again.
Yet do we have the right to take our own life. There are arguments for both yet it comes down to your beliefs not only in the law but also in your morals. The Bible says in Phillipians 1:20-24: Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.
Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. William V. Rauscher sums this passage up very well by saying, “The phrase in Paul’s letter that interests me the most at this point is ‘to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
I have emphasized ‘on your account’ because is seems to me that this is the key to the whole of Jesus’ teaching about both life and death. The suffering that Paul knew he would be called upon to endure so long as he remained alive was not for himself. Suicide was, indeed, a tempting ‘way out’ of continued suffering. But he refused to choose it because of his conviction that his life and his service were intended to be for others-‘on your account.'”(Rauchser 104-5) As of now you have the right to commit suicide anytime you want. Yet depending on what state you live on you could be punished by the law for assisting in a suicide. Only time can tell what will become of suicide and the law. Today there are still cases in the court battling to try and legalize assisted suicide. suicide is not the way out of everything though.
I understand in some cases that it might be the best thing , like saving a loved one from excruciating pain yet nothing can be so bad that it deserves taking your own life. ————————————————– ————.