Should Euthanasia Be Legal?

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Should humans be able to have so much power that they can act as ‘God’? This question is often brought up with the concept of euthanasia. In 1990, a retired pathologist named Jack Kevorkian sparked a revolution in ethical thinking when he helped Oregonian woman Janet Adkins to die. Adkins was fifty-four years old when she was diagnosed with an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the fourth-largest killer of Americans. She tried experimental drugs to deal with the progressive memory loss symptoms, but they were not successful. On June 4, 1990, Adkins met Kevorkian in Michigan, where assisted suicide and euthanasia were not illegal at the time, in order to perform the suicide procedure. The two were denied the use of clinics, churches, and funeral homes when they explained the intentions of the procedure. Instead, they performed it in a van. The case received more publicity than expected and Kevorkian was prosecuted for murder (Pence 53-54). Euthanasia by definition is “deliberate killing committed under the impulse of compassion in order to relieve the physical pains of a person suffering from an incurable disease and whose death is, therefore, inevitable” (Diaconescu). It is very similar to physician-assisted suicide, but there is one key difference. During the process of physician-assisted suicide, the physician only prescribes a lethal dose of medication to the patient where as in euthanasia the physician not only prescribes the medication, but also administers it (Lowry 107). Euthanasia can be broken down into three forms: voluntary euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia, and non-voluntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia occurs when suffering individuals request to die on their own, while involuntary euthanasia occurs when eut... ... middle of paper ... ...4.2 (2012): 474+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. Lee, M.Stingl, Alexander. "Assisted Suicide: An Overview." Points Of View: Assisted Suicide (2013): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 15 Mar. 2014 Loewy, Erich H., and Roberta Springer Loewy. The Ethics Of Terminal Care : Orchestrating The End Of Life. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2002. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 14 Mar. 2014. Marker, Rita L., and Kathi Hamlon. "Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Should Not Be Legal." Assisted Suicide. Ed. Noël Merino. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Frequently Asked Questions." Patients Rights Council, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 14 Mar. 2014. Pence, Gregory E.. Medical ethics: accounts of ground-breaking cases. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.

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