The Death with Dignity Act is a bad idea according to the concept of social control within structural functionalism because society always sets laws to tackle different social problems and allowing physician-assisted suicide take place is to concede that society is unable to deal with circumstances that contribute to physician-assisted suicides. Structural functionalism theory suggests that society is made up of various structures that work together in harmony to promote social cohesion and social stability. Society has norms, customs, values, taboos, and traditions that work together towards proper functioning of society. Therefore, by allowing physician-assisted suicide, it means that society cannot put in place measures that would deter patients from taking part in physician-assisted suicide. It also means that families are unable to make decisions for their members who are contemplating physician-assisted suicide. Religious institutions are part of the structures of a given society. Values such as morality and respect for life are important in any given society. Both religious institutions and morals of society are against physician-assisted suicide. Religious institutions assert that God is the giver of life and it is only Him who has a right to take away life. It is morally wrong to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide can lead to the death of individuals who are not terminally ill by turning into a lifestyle choice for individuals who are unable to deal with challenges of life (Miller, 2000).
The Death with Dignity Act is a good idea according to the idea of social change within conflict theory because physicians have an obligation to relieve pain, an obligation to promote the dignity of dying and an obligation to respect patients decisions. Conflict theory suggests that society is in perpetual conflict due to limited resources and competition for the limited resources. Conflict theory suggests that the status quo is bad and social change is inevitable. The Death and Dignity Act ensures that peoples rights are respected, and economic reasons are taken cognizance of in decision making about physician-assisted suicide. According to the idea of social change, people have a right to die the same way that they have a right to live. If a person is terminally ill, going through a lot of unbearable pain and suffering to the extent that he just wants to die, he should be accorded a right to take part in physician-assisted suicide. Given that it is economically expensive to accord medical help to a person who is terminally ill, it is justifiable to use physician-assisted suicide for economic reasons. If a terminally ill patient does not want to impose any economic burdens on his or her family, he should be allowed to die in a peaceful manner (Miller, 2000).
Miller, P. J. (2000). Life after Death with Dignity: The Oregon Experience. Social Work, 45, 3, 263-271.
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