Research Paper on Euthanasia

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Research Paper on Euthanasia

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction…………………………………………………………..1

Eight Arguments to Consider…………………………………………2

The Right to Die………………………………………………………2

Patient Suffering……………………………………………………....3

Slippery Slope to Legalized Murder…………………………………..4

Hippocratic Oath and Prohibition of Killing………………………….5

Government Involvement……………………………………………..5

Palliative Care………………………………………………………...6

Healthcare Spending Implications…………………………………….7

Value of Life…………………………………………………………..7

Conclusion…………………………………………………………….8

Works Cited…………………………………………………………..9

EUTHANASIA - The Right to Choose or a Slippery Slope

INTRODUCTION

One of the most hotly debated ethical issue of our time is one of Euthanasia. Euthanasia comes from the Greek words “Eu”, meaning well or easy, and “Thanatos”, meaning death. In modern terms it is the intentional premature termination of another’s life by direct intervention or by withholding care.[1] Within that it can be either voluntary (expressed or implied consent), or involuntary. The two sides of this debate are the rights of an individual to decide when he or she is to die, or the sanctity of life and the states responsibility to protect people.

On the Pro-Euthanasia side there are numerous groups such as the Hemlock Society founded by Derek Humphry, and the Final Exit Network which work to change legislation and give individuals the right to decide how and when they will end their lives. They believe that the rights of the individual are absolute and that the state should not force one to live when they are terminally ill or in a state of constant pain and do not wish to continue living. Currently euthanasia is only legal in Oregon, Washington, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

Those who don’t believe in euthanasia have formed groups such as the Nightengale Alliance, CURE (Citizen’s United Resisting Euthanasia), and the True Compassion Advocates. These groups believe that human life is precious and that at no time should one be allowed to kill themselves or allow another to kill them just to end suffering or escape a terminal situation. These groups believe that a person who is facing a life threatening condition does not have the ability to make rational decisions for themselves and that it can lead down a slippery slope from voluntary to involuntary deaths.

Eight Arguments to Consider

There are about eight points of contention that come up when one looks at euthanasia :

1. The Right to Die

2. Patient Suffering

3. Slippery Slope to Legalized Murder

4. Hippocratic Oath and Prohibition of Killing

5. Government Involvement

6. Palliative Care

7. Healthcare Spending Implications

8. Value of Life

The Right to Die

The right to die is one of the stronger arguments for the pro-euthanasia groups as most people believe that one should have control over their own lives and bodies. Just as Patrick Henry said “Give me liberty or give me death”.[2] Without having that personal autonomy in this, probably the biggest liberty that anyone can have, how can we truly be considered free, and in control of our own lives. In the case of Vacco v. Quill in 1996 the American Civil Liberties Union stated :

"The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. The exercise of this right is as central to personal autonomy and bodily integrity as rights safeguarded by this Court's decisions relating to marriage, family relationships, procreation, contraception, child rearing and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment. In particular, this Court's recent decisions concerning the right to refuse medical treatment and the right to abortion...
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