It is important to differentiate between the various terms used in discussing euthanasia. Passive Euthanasia refers to removing some form of life support which allows nature to take its course. Forms of life support include: removing life support machines, stopping medical procedures and medications, stopping food and water, or not delivering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Active Euthanasia refers to causing the death of a person through a direct action, in response to a request from the person. Physician Assisted Suicide refers to a physician supplying information and/or the means of committing suicide to a person, so that he/she can easily end his/her own life.
For instance, in the trial People vs. Kevorkian, Dr. Kevorkian was acquitted for prescribing the medication not knowing it would lead to death. The court ruled that if Kevorkian had knowingly prescribed the drugs in order for the patients to commit suicide, then he would have been found guilty. Since the start of the debate there has been some initiatives voted on in states in order to deal with the issue. Currently, only one state, Oregon, has passed a law allowing physician-assisted suicides. The law, titled The Oregon Death with Dignity Act, allows physician-assisted suicides and not euthanasia.
(Baird 1989) In medieval times, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers opposed active euthanasia, although the Christian Church has always accepted passive euthanasia. Conflicting opinion is seen to be found when people talk about euthanasia. Some say it is good because people should have the right to choose what they want to happen to themselves. If they choose to end their suffering they should be able to do it without being made to feel like they have done something wrong. Some lay some guidelines and say... ... middle of paper ... ...he same time, it is ending the person's life that is the most valuable thing a person may ever hope to own.
Doctor-Assisted Suicide Suicide is the act or instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially if that person is of sound mind. Euthanasia is the act or practice of killing individuals who are hopelessly sick or injured for reasons of mercy. Doctor-assisted suicide is a term used to describe the act of a doctor or physician providing direct or indirect means of assisting someone in taking their own life. There are 2 types of euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is withholding life-sustaining treatment either before or after it has been initiated.
There were some states who are still using the other types of execution. Eleven states authorized electrocution, seven of lethal gas, four of hanging, and three states of firing squad. Among these, the least suffering is lethal injection. The most recent execution in Texas took place on April 3, 1997. A man who killed a woman during the 1989 robbery of a topless bar was executed the day after he made an unsuccessful suicide attempt.
People are entitled to request that their life be terminated through medical methods in situations which destroy any hope for quality of life. Many people are against an assisted suicide system. While religion plays a major role in the opposition of euthanasia (many religions, including Christianity and Judaism, are not only against assisted suicide but suicide altogether), the heart of their opposition is the fact that an elderly or poor patient may be coerced into choosing euthanasia by cost-conscious family members or their doctors (Klaidman 62). They feel that an exploitation of a euthanasia system is inevitable. However, these abuses and exploitations can be prevented through a strict regu... ... middle of paper ... ... 1-2).
Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Past and Present. Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing, 1998. 1-16. Gittleman, D.K. "Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Suicide."
The person who is murdered above is considered by the murderer as an adversary, an assaulter, or criminally culpable. But the individual in Euthanasia is neither of the three we mentioned (Gay-Williams, 288). As I defined earlier, euthanasia is taking someone’s life, either his/her own or of another person to add to that, the human being whose life is confiscated must be a person that is assumed to be experiencing a disease or injury from which regaining life cannot reasonably be anticipated. Ultimately, the attempt must be deliberate and intentional. Thus, euthanasia is purposely confiscating the life of a believed hopeless person, whether it is the person’s own or of a relative or friend, it is still euthanasia.
Kevorkian is from Michigan and has stood trial a number of times for practicing physician assisted suicide. In his latest trial, April 13, 1999, he was charged with a second-degree murder conviction with a penalty of 10-25 years imprisonment with no possibility of bail (Hyde). Dr. Jack Kevorkian stated in the trial that it was his "duty as a doctor" to help patients end their suffering by taking their own lives (Lessenberry 16). In my argument I am going to discuss the issue of whether or not he should have been found guilty of murder. Assisting anyone in death is murder and the court was correct when they charged Kevorkian guilty of murder.