Euthanasia

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Do We Have The Right To Die? Goldfarb, Jennifer ENC 1102 Mrs. Cartright In October of 1939, Louis Repouille chloroformed his thirteen-year-old son described as “an incurable imbecile.” The boy was deformed and mute since birth and therefor bedridden. Due to a brain tumor, he became blind. Two months afterward, the father was found guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. No man or woman can honestly say that this boy should have stayed alive to suffer inevitably or that his father should have sanely watched him. Euthanasia is the right for any human being who is terminally ill to find the means to end his or her life. Mentally stable adults, who are deathly ill, have a right to die. Euthanasia has been practiced throughout time and in many cultures. When an elderly Aymara Indian of Bolivia becomes terminally ill, relatives and friends are summoned to the home of the death vigil. The family will withhold food and drink until the dying person slips into unconsciousness and dies. In Eskimo cultures, an old or sick Eskimo tells his family when he is ready to die and the family will immediately comply by abandoning the aged person to the ravages of nature or by killing him themselves. Aged Ethiopians allowed themselves to be tied to wild bulls. The natives of Amboyna, ate their failing relatives out of charity. Congolese jumped on the tired and old until their life was gone. In Athens, magistrates kept a supply of poison for anyone who wished to die. Aiding death was often done out of respect for an ill person. (Humphrey, 2) In Christianity, on the other hand, suicide was denounced. Anyone who took his or her own life was denied a Christian burial. With a reaffirmation of Greek and Roman values, the concept of an easy death gradually came to be regarded once again. What distinguished the sixteenth century attitude toward suicide from that of the Middle Ages was a reawakened interest in individualism. (Humphrey, 8) During the eighteenth century, Paradys, a physician, wrote “Oratio de Euthanasia.” He recommended an “easy death” for a patient who is incurable and suffering. In 1777, a year after his death, David Hume’s essay, “Of Suicide” was published. He wrote, “when life has become a burden both courage and prudence should engage us... ... middle of paper ... ...g the Right to Die, “ Time, April 15, 1996, p. 82 (Sirs Researcher, 1996) McMahon, Patrick, “Oregon Reports 8 Suicides Under New Law,” USA Today, August 19, 1997, p. 6A Moore, Francis D., “Prolonging Life,” Permitting Life To End,” Harvard Magazine, July/August 1995, pp. 46-51 (Sirs Researcher, 1996) Nichols, Mark, “Dying By Choice,” Macleans, May 20, 1996, pp. 47-48 “Right To Die,” Ethics, Pasadena: Salem Press, Inc., 1995, Volume 3, p. 754 Rosellini, Lynn, “The Final Struggle of Jamie Butcher,” US News & World Report, November 7, 1994, p. 67 Suhr, Jim, “Dr. Jack Kevorkian Charged With Murder,” Associated Press, November 24, 1998 Stout, David, “20 Years: People,” The New York Times, November 17, 1996, p. 13NJ (The New York Times Ondisc) Tahmincioglu, Eve, he Cost of Dying,” News Journal, July 10, 1994, p. A1 Weinstein, Henry, “Assisted Deaths Ruled Legal,” Los Angeles Times, March 7, 1996, p. 1A (Sirs Researcher, 1996)

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