Free Euthanasia Essay

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Euthanasia can be defined as the following: “the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit.” The key word here, obviously, is “intentional.” If the death is not intentional, it is not an act of euthanasia. Euthanasia can be voluntary as well as non-voluntary. The most recent case we have heard of in the news dealing with euthanasia is the Terri Schiavo case. In Schiavo’s case, the fact that the doctors took out her feeding tube was a non-voluntary form of euthanasia. Rather than having her own consent, her husband made the decision, making it non-voluntary. Her husband believed it was the best choice for her because she was in a vegetated state for over fifteen years. (Hentoff) But many people do not agree with his decision. They argue against legalizing euthanasia in itself.

People who agree with euthanasia sat that the voluntary form of euthanasia will not lead to involuntary euthanasia. After much research, it has been found that there would be millions of situations each year that do not fall clearly into either category. An example of this would be an elderly man in a nursing home is asked to sign a form consenting to be killed. This man can barely read his newspaper in the morning, let alone read a form that someone hands to him and tells him to sign. Would this be voluntary or involuntary? (Johansen) One can argue either side. Researchers say that legalized euthanasia would most likely progress to a point where people are expected to volunteer for assisted death. Just as if your veterinarian says your old dog would be better put out of his or her misery by putting her to sleep, 10 years from now, a doctor would ask you, as the closest family member to your father, to approve a form of euthanasia because your father’s quality of life was not worth living. (Gallagher) The movement from voluntary to involuntary euthanasia would be somewhat like the movement of abortion. People who agree with euthanasia state that abortion is something that a woman chooses to do, that it is not forced on her and that voluntary euthanasia will not be forced on them either. But it is not an issue of force; it is an issue of the way laws concerning euthanasia can be expanded once it is declared legal.
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