Assignment 1 - Building an Outline (Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia)

by fbedard on February 2, 2016 - 12:33am

A. Topic & Type of Paper/ Justification of Social Issue

The topic of this paper is assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada. This paper will mainly be analytical, as it will be looking at the causes of this issue and its consequences on the general population. Finally, this paper will seek to answer why there is a lack of resources for human euthanasia and assisted suicide in this country.


Assisted suicide and euthanasia are social issues because they show a gap between social ideals (every human being has the right to live with an adequate quality of life) and the social reality (patients with degenerative diseases cannot end their sufferance with consent due to the lack of resources for euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada).


The criminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide has violated people’s right to life for a long time in Canada. Only recently, precisely in February 2015, the right to practice assisted suicide in this country has been partially legalized for adult patients who clearly understand and fully consent to the end of life (Duffy, 591). As it is right now in 2016, a brand new law called the Dying with Dignity law has been put into place to legalize the practice of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada (Plante). However, a doctor who receives the request to help a person die must confirm with second doctor in order to proceed to euthanasia, the second doctor may refuse to help the patient in some circumstances (Plante). The lack of resources for assisted suicide still affect a significant part of the population since its practice is prohibited to all patients who do not meet the strict governmental requirements (i.e. unconscious patients).  This issue can be assed through legislative reforms and further psychiatric research on understanding death (Duffy, 595).


B. Major areas of interest / important questions & associated social science disciplines.

  • What are the psychological consequences of depriving people from fundamental human right of life? (Psychology)
  • What would be the implications on general population to provide more resources to people who desire to end their life with consent? (Sociology)


C. Who/what groups are involved in this issue?

Assisted suicide can be looked at on an individual level when looking at its effects on one’s human rights and wellbeing. However, this issue can also be looked at from the community level, looking at changes physician-assisted suicide has on the legal system and in the medical industry.


D. Sources:

Duffy, A. O. (2015). The supreme court of Canada ruling on physician-assisted death: Implications for psychiatry in Canada. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(12), 591-595. Retrieved from Ebsco Host data base.

Plante C. (15 January 2016).  Quebec City patient obtains medical aid to die. Montreal Gazette. Retrieved from 


I really like the topic that you've presented. You've presented it in a general yet it covers the basics and more. Once you continue with the research it will show people how this really affects an individual and their rights. The way that you are breaking it down and presenting it, is good and peaks interest!

Your topic is interesting and you explained the issue well in part a. It is also good that your sources are very recent.

It sounds like you are only looking at your topic from the perspective that there should be assisted suicide and euthanasia. I think that you should also consider the opposite perspective of the situation (the reasons why there should not be assisted suicide and euthanasia). That way, you will have a broader understanding of your topic. You could also try to find useful statistics, such as about the percentage of people for and against assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada, in order to introduce the issue.

You also seem to be focusing on the lack of resources for assisted suicide as the reason behind this issue. It might be useful to research and find out about other reasons and solutions to this issue in order to get a bigger picture of your social issue.

Lastly, I think that you should focus on the individual level when it comes to who is involved in the social issue because assisted suicide effects primarily one individual’s life. Then, you can analyze the effects of assisted suicide on the family and friends of the individual who wants to end their life or who has already ended their life through assisted suicide. I think that you should think about using the political science discipline, as well, as a major area of interest because you are also considering the legal system and its role in your social issue.

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