Assisted Suicide Or Euthanasia

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ASSISTED SUICIDE or euthanasia On July 26, 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld decisions in New York and Washington State that criminalized assisted suicide. As of April 1999, physicians-assisted suicide is illegal in all but a couple of states. Over thirty states have established laws prohibiting assisted suicide, and of those who don’t have statues, a number of them prohibit it through common law. In Michigan, Jack Kevorkian was initially charged with violating the state statue. He was charged with first-degree murder and delivering a controlled substance without a license. The assisted suicide charge was dropped, however, he was eventually convicted of second-degree murder and delivering a controlled substance without a license. Only one state, Oregon, has legalized assisted suicide. The Oregon law, which went into effect in October 1997, provides that a doctor may prescribe, but not administer, a lethal dose of medication to a patient who has less than six months to live. As of April 1999, 23 patients were given the drugs under the statue, and 15 of them used the drugs to commit suicide. A report released by the Oregon State Health Division found that the law was working well and had not been subject to abuse (REED A9). The word Euthanasia originated from the Greek language: eu means “good” and thanatos means “death”. The term euthanasia normally means that the person who wishes to commit suicide must initiate the act (WORLD BOOK). However, some people define euthanasia to include both voluntary and involuntary termination of life. Euthanasia has many meanings so it is important to differentiate among the vaguely related terms. These meanings of terms were cited from George Lundberg, M.D. in Views of Assisted suicide. Involuntary Euthanasia: This term is used by some to describe the killing of a person in opposition to their wishes. It is basically a form of murder and not a popular view among most people. Passive Euthanasia: Hastening the death of a person by withdrawing some form of support and letting nature take its course. For example: removing life support, stopping medical procedures, stopping food and water and allowing the person to dehydrate or starve to death, and not delivering CPR. Active Euthanasia: This involves causing the death of a person through a direct action, in response to a request from that person. A well-known exam...

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...some by facing this issue considering the circumstances. Oregon has made the first step into supporting the individual right for assisted suicide. Whether or not this view is unpopular to some, people should still have the right to make that decision concerning their own welfare. Since this was a country built on Christian beliefs this will be an on going debate and might never come to a consensus.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Dobson, James. “Dr. Dobson’s Study.” Focus on the Family. 1998. 17p. Online. Internet. 17 JAN. 1998. Available a0000580. Html. “Death.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1990 “Euthanasia.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1990 Halpern, A.L. and A.M. Freedman. Letter. New York Times. 2 NOV. 1997: n. pag. Lundberg M.D. George D. Views of Assisted Suicide from Several Nations. 1997. New York: JAMA, 1997. Online. Medical News and Perspectives. Internet. 24 Sept. 1997 available Quill, Thomas A. Bio Medical Ethics: Proposed Clinical Criteria for Physician-Assisted Suicide. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996 Glover, J. Causing Death and Saving Lives. New York: Penguin Books, 1997.

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