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Question 2: A flawed law, a false choice


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For many people, opposition to physician-assisted suicide is based on respect for God's law "Thou shalt not kill," and on the firm desire to have doctors and nurses function as healers and care givers, not executioners. For 2,500 years doctors have taken the Hippocratic Oath, promising to practice medicine ethically and honestly. Part of the promise is "to do no harm." Indeed, the oath is very explicit about rejecting physician-assisted suicide, promising "I will never give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect."

Although these promises originated in the ancient world in pre-Christian times, they have always guided conscientious physicians in the ethical practice of the healing arts. To jettison these moral guidelines would have a very detrimental effect on the medical profession and on society.

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