Euthanasia Debate

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Euthanasia Debate – Human Rights

Ladies and Gentlemen, we all know euthanasia, or voluntary assisted suicide, has been the subject of much moral, religious, philosophical, legal and human rights debate in the world. At the core of this debate is how to reconcile competing values: the desire of individuals to choose to die with dignity when suffering, and the need to uphold the inherent right to life of every person.

Many people think that each person has the right to control his/her body and life and so should be able to determine at what time, in what way and by whose hand he/she will die. The right to life is not a right simply to exist but it is also to contribute to the world as a human being; if we can move, eat and work on our own without any help should be able to have the right to life. However, for those who are incapacitated or terminally ill, they should have the right to make decisions about their lives and the right to die. That’s why we are all here.

In USA, Gallup Poll survey showed that 60% of Americans supported euthanasia. Attempts to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide resulted in ballot initiatives and legislation bills within the United States in the last 20 years. For example, Washington voters saw Ballot Initiative 119 in 1991, California placed Proposition 161 on the ballot in 1992, Oregon passed the Death with Dignity Act in 1994, and Michigan included Proposal B in their ballot in 1998.

One case study from the UK tells of a 43-year-old woman, known as Miss B after she was granted anonymity. She was described by the judge Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss as “a splendid person and it is tragic that someone of her ability has been struck down so cruelly”. Miss B, who had never married and didn’t have children, was paralysed last year after a blood vessel bursted in her neck, and she could only breathe with the aide of a ventilator. She said it had left her with an "unbearable quality of life" and doctors have told her there was...
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