Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are similar in the fact that they end lives of terminally ill patients, but they vary on where they are legalized. In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no constitutionally protected right to physician-assisted suicide but left it to the individual states to regulate physician-assisted death (Ardelt 1). Although states still have the option to legalize assisted suicide, the federal government has made euthanasia illegal in every state. Euthanasia is only legal in Belgium and the Netherlands (Somerville 1). Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending the life of another person to relieve pain and suffering and is usually performed by a doctor.
I believe in people’s freedom to do what they please with their own bodies. The basic right of liberty is what America was founded on. Euthanasia should be a legal option. It’s important to start by understanding the different types of euthanasia. Allowing someone to die is, “Forgoing or withdrawing medical treatment that offers no hope of benefit to the total well-being of the patient, or that imposes burdens disproportionate to the potential benefits, allows the patient to die” (Manning 2).
Voluntary euthanasia is the deliberate killing of a patient suffering from an incurable or irreversible disease, at the request of that patient . The practice takes two forms: ‘assisted suicide’, by which a doctor helps a patient to end his or her life; and ‘active euthanasia’, in which a physician terminates the life of a patient. By far, the most common method of euthanasia is ‘lethal injection’, in which an individual is administered a fatal cocktail of drugs. Due to its moral and ethical implications, euthanasia is hotly debated all over the world. As of 2014, three nations – the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg – allow active euthanasia.
Dictionary.com Web. 1 March. 2014. Fenigsen, Richard. "Other People's Lives: Reflections on Medicine, Ethics, and Euthanasia."