Euthanasia: Killing or Helping Is society playing the role of God or is the world so wrapped up in their lives that God no longer matters? Euthanasia has been around since the ancient Romans and Greeks and has been a highly debated subject just as it is today. In history and in arguments stated today is that “people are the created and not the Creator” (Gula 26). There are many things that society can argue about the subject of euthanasia but the main debate is that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is wrong. Society gets euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide confused because they both have to do with physicians tending to the patient’s death.
The Debate Over Euthanasia The controversy over euthanasia has recently become highly publicized. However, this issue is not a new debate. Society has voiced its opinions on the subject for hundreds of years. Euthanasia, which is Greek for "good death", refers to the act of ending another person’s life in order to end their suffering and pain.1 Two forms, passive and active euthanasia, categorize the actions taken to end the person’s life. Passive euthanasia involves removing a patient’s life support, withholding food and water, and discontinuing medical treatments.
The ancient Hebrews had laws against abortion, but they permitted it in cases where the mother’s life was at risk. Under Roman rule, abortion was permitted, as well as infanticide. The shriveled remains of exposed babies could be found all across the countryside of the Roman Empire. The early Christian church generally opposed abortion. For hundreds of years, however, a debate raged in the church on whether abortion might be justifiable before animation.
While sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably, physician assisted suicide is when a doctor provides a patient with education and or instruments useful to ending their own life without truly partaking in the death. “Euthanasia Definitions” also passionately stresses the fact that there is no such thing as passive euthanasia, which is thought of as death resulting from ending treatment that was ineffective, or providing too much medication without the intention of ending life. Euthanasia is fully an intentional act resulting in death. With a growing public awareness and its abundant levels of controversy, the currently illegal act of euthanasia has come of widespread interest. Derek Humphry is a significant advocate for the legalization of euthanasia for the terminally ill.
Derek Humphry’s intentions were to help terminally ill people die peacefully (“The Evolution of America’s Right-to-Die”). For other individuals who helped with assisted suicide they claim is is no different from taking a person off a ventilator or helped them stop dialysis, the decision is big, but it’s what is suppose to be done when a patient is suffering (“The Evolution of America’s Right-to-Die”). Derek Humphry had created an organization that Americans thought was crazy and unnecessary, “ And everybody said I was crazy- America was not ready for physician-assisted suicide. And I said, ‘oh, I think it is.’ And so I started out on a lonely path in 1980, campaigning for the right to choose to die when terminally ill” (“The Evolution of America’s Right-to-Die”). Most causes for legalizing euthanasia stem from unrelieved or undertreated pain of patients, with today’s modern technology, a lot of pain felt by patients can not be properly treated.
Euthanasia has many different names, for example, doctor-assisted dying or mercy killing and many other names. (BBC, BBC, 2014) Euthanasia is always illegal but in some cases it is legal. Opponents of Euthanasia contend that those doctors have more responsibility to keep their patients alive as reflected by the Hippocratic Oath. Most people are not in Euthanasia's side. In this research I will be able to answer these questions: 1-What is Euthanasia?
In the following, we will discuss euthanasia from a structural functionalist perspective. Recently, a family decided to end treatment for their 21 month old baby girl in the only “humane way” possible: nutrition withdrawal (Bever, 2014). In September, 19-month old Natalie Newton wandered into the family’s pool unsupervised by her parents. When she was found, Natalie was blue in the face from lack of oxygen and immediately rushed to the hospital. Though they were able to revive her, doctors informed the family that Natalie would not live; she was deaf, blind, unable to move and ultimately brain dead from being withdrawn from oxygen for as long as she had been.
Because life and death were giving to us by God, euthanasia goes against his wishes. If they practice in the act of euthanasia because of their beliefs they would be committing a sin and end up going to hell. (Yip,2009,p.1) Now those doctors can prolong life for people who are terminally ill, suffering or just elderly, by using certain machines, euthanasia has become a big debate. With many groups for euthanasia, such as pro-euthanasia and the right-to-die, are debating that euthanasia be legalized. With all these different view towards euthanasia, should North American consider changing its law to legalize it?
History of Euthanasia in America 1973- The American Medical Association issues the Patient Bill of Rights. The groundbreaking document allows patients to refuse medical treatment. 1976- The New Jersey Supreme Court rules that the parents of Karen Ann Quinlan, who has been in a tranquilizer-and-alcohol-induced coma for a year, can remove her respirator. She dies nine years later. 1979- Jo Roman, a New York artist dying of cancer, makes a videotape, telling her friends and family she intends to end her life.
Dating back to the 12th century people argued over the legalities and ethics of euthanasia. Many Christians opposed euthanasia, claiming that life should be under God’s control because it was His gift to us (Historical Timeline, Online). Throughout the centuries euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in any form have been challenged and opposed. Many have argued that people have a right to choose to die especially if they are terminally ill and in extreme pain. Some claim that it’s the right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a dignified death (Top 10 Pros and Cons, Online).