National Association of Social Workers. Social Work Speaks: NASW Policy Statements. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: NASW Press, 1994.
Wennberg, unlike the AMA, defines assisted suicide as one in which the assistant not the patient performs the act, consistent with voluntary passive euthanasia. He discusses "the right to kill oneself through the agency of another," which could imply only knowledge and means but not the deed.
Nor is it sufficient to speak merely in terms of rights and decisions. A law permitting PAS would by no means resolve moral argument. Were that the case, Jack Kevorkian would not continue to make news, courts would not be faced with myriad appeals, and Dutch doctors making PAS decisions would not be discussing their guilt. On the other hand, the very prominence of euthanasia demands attention to partial interests of family, society, physician, patient. It is as if we as a society require pain in order to justify it on one hand and alleviate it on the other.
"Document Forbids Assisted Suicide." Los Angeles Times, Home Edition, 1 April 1995. 4B.
The right to die is also connected to the terms death with dignity and rational suicide, which imply mental competence and which has arisen since 1980 owing to the AIDS epidemic (Cox, passim; Dangelantonio, 57-62). Battin (300-302) identifies aspects of the right-to-die decision as a "rational structure" for the terminally ill: actively assuming control over one's death; waiting for cure, timing death during a predictable period of terminal decline, especially in AIDS cases; and the interests of others. Battin, who favors acceptance of a patient-directed right to die, suggests that physicians, mental-health counselors, and significant others can either reinforce (good) or disrupt (bad) the rational construct of the decision at every level of choice.
Larson, E.J. "Assisted Suicide is a Slippery Slope." Insight on the News, 29 Aug. 1994, 18.
Dangelantonio, A.J. "Physician-assisted Suicide: The Legal and P