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Essay on The Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide Movement

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    This essay will present in detail and with documentation the formation and growth and stated goals of the euthanasia movement in our country.

 

The Euthanasia Society of America was formed in 1938 with the aim of proposing legislation to allow active voluntary euthanasia. Three past presidents and one treasurer also favored involuntary, active euthanasia, according to Yale Kamisar in Euthanasia and the Right to Death. In 1967 the society's name was changed to the Euthanasia Educational Council and it officially supported voluntary, passive euthanasia. Many of its members, however, were in favor of active euthanasia.

 

Dr. Joseph Fletcher, on the advisory council of the Euthanasia Educational Council, advocated in the Atlantic Monthly (April 1968) that a parent has the right to choose active, involuntary euthanasia for his child who has Down's syndrome. The Euthanasia Educational Council held a series of conferences since 1968 with publications of the proceedings showing advocacy for not only active, voluntary euthanasia but also for active, involuntary euthanasia if society were ready to accept it.

 

In Attitudes Toward Euthanasia, a publication of the Third Euthanasia Conference (1970), Dr. Marvin Kohl, Ph.D., said, "In some situations, especially in certain cases of euthanasia, morality demands the killing of the innocent" (Kohl 6). And Dr. Joseph Fletcher remarked that he welcomed the fact that Judge Russell Frankel of the N.Y. Federal District Court and others had adopted this statement for public use, "We should make a study of whether suicide and other laws can be modified to enable victims of terminal illnesses to avoid the unwelcome prolongation of life with assistance and without penalty" (I...


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...vidual to be a person. Euthanasia adherents propose that we redefine "person" to exclude some classes of human beings; that human beings must pass certain tests before being declared persons who have unalienable rights, for example, "one who is capable of rationality, interaction with others, affectivity and culture making."

 

WORKS CITED:

Cruzan v. Harmon, 110 Supreme Ct. 2841 (1990)

Euthanasia News. Euthanasia Educational Council's newsletter (Winter 1978)

Fletcher,Joseph, M.D. Humanhood: Essays in Biomedical Ethics N.p.:Prometheus Books, 1979

Hummel,R. Hospital Progress, June 1976

Kohl, Marvin,M.D. Attitudes Toward Euthanasia, a publication of the Third Euthanasia Conference (1970)

Means, Prof. Cyril. Dilemmas of Euthanasia, publication of the Fourth Euthanasia Conference

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, and Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179


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