Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (Preliminary Hsc Legal Studies Speech Transcript)

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Julie Nguyen

Legal Studies Speech Transcript

Everybody has their own opinion and their own point of view. When these views, by no means of exaggeration, are the very difference between life and death, there is always going to be conflict and controversy. The term euthanasia refers to the intentional killing of a human being for his or her alleged benefit. There are very obvious ethical issues surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide, some for and some against. In the end, it is left up to a country or state’s legislation to protect its citizens.

Before I speak about a couple of recent events pertaining to this issue, I think it’s important to clear something up. Although the terms euthanasia and assisted suicide are often used interchangeably, there is a small difference in the eyes of the law. This distinction relies solely on the final act committed. For example, if an intravenous needle has been set up to administer a lethal drug when a switch is triggered, the final act in this circumstance is flipping the switch. If this motion is carried out by the patient, assisted suicide occurs and in the case of euthanasia, it is the doctor who activates the switch.

The issue here is of course the opposing views held by society. For every person who believes euthanasia and assisted suicide can provide relief to those in pain, another person thinks that it can only devalue human life. Less than two months ago, in July of 2009, one Sir Edward Downes flew with his wife to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, where Swiss laws allow doctors and physicians to take part in assisted suicides. Lady Downes suffered from terminal cancer, whereas her husband was not affected by any illness. He simply wanted to die alongside his partner.

As both husband and wife were respected members of their London community, the concern encasing the matter of euthanasia was brought very quickly into the spotlight. In the same month, shortly after this unexpected incident, the...
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