Voluntary Euthanasia Be Legal Term Paper

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Death and Dying  (general) Type: Term Paper Paper: #42326286 Related Topics: Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Suicide, Assisted Suicide, Suicide
Excerpt from Term Paper :

¶ … euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide on ReligiousTolerance.org, most people in North America die "a bad death," one characterized by pain, being unable to participate in their medical treatment program, or after spending over ten days in intensive care. A prevailing belief that any sign of life is preferable to death fuels arguments against the practice of voluntary euthanasia, distinguished from involuntary euthanasia in that the suicide is requested directly by the person in question. Euthanasia is one of the most controversial subjects in medial ethics today. On one side of the argument, organizations like the Hemlock Society have pushed for legislation that permits physician-assisted suicide (PAS). These efforts have met with a degree of success in the United States; in 1994 Oregon passed the Death with Dignity Act allowing PAS. However, there is even a distinction between voluntary euthanasia and PAS: with PAS, the physician simply provides the means with which a patient, usually terminally ill, can end his or her life. Voluntary euthanasia, on the other hand, can entail a "deliberate intervention, by someone other than the person whose life is at stake," in the suicide (Gula 2). Detractors of voluntary euthanasia often oppose the act on religious grounds but often the controversy is practical in approach as well. Ending a life prematurely entails an interference with the "will of God" or it might mean the denial of a potential recovery. However, most cases of voluntary euthanasia truly deserve the term "death with dignity," as the practice provides a safe, pain-free,...

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For example, Kristen Leutwyler notes that most often, women are the "victims" of assisted suicide, indicating that some euthanasia deaths might not be fully voluntary. In fact, some studies indicate that "Only about a third of the victims described as sick had terminal illnesses," (Leutwyler). However, these statistics can be misleading: the definition of a terminal illness can be as hazy as the definition of euthanasia itself. If more women are the subjects of so-called mercy killings, this does not necessarily point to a gender bias in the practice and could simply mean that more women were analyzed for the purpose of that particular study.

Religiously based arguments against voluntary euthanasia further cloud the fundamental ethical issues at hand. Imposing a set of religious beliefs upon the entire population is dangerous and violates the cherished American separation of church and state. Euthanasia therefore ranks with abortion as a religiously tainted ethical issue. Personal choice and sovereignty are more important than satisfying the consciences of religious groups. However, even some Catholic priests are beginning to understand the motives and merits of "death with dignity," (Gula 1).

The sanctity of life is actually better preserved with legalized euthanasia and PAS. It affirms the power of self-determination and reinforces a belief that being…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Introduction." Religious Tolerance.org. http://www.religioustolerance.org/euth1.htm.

Gula, Richard. "Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Killing or Caring?" Christian Century. 5 May 1999. Online at Find Articles.com. http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m1058/14_116/54588537/p1/article.jhtml?term=euthanasia.

Leutwyler, Kristen. "In Cases of Euthanasia, Men Most Often Kill Women." Scientific American. 24 Sept 2001. Online at http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000B5030-819D-1C61-B882809EC588ED9F&catID=1.


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