Right to Die

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, United States Constitution, U.S. state Pages: 10 (3500 words) Published: December 13, 2012
Right to Die Overview
What is the right to die? The right to die is also called euthanasia, which is also known as assisted suicide. Euthanasia means that someone has taken a deliberate action with the intention of ending a life to relieve unstoppable suffering. Some may say it is known as ending one’s life in a painless manner, while others would disagree because a reference should be included on the unstoppable suffering.

There are two main classifications of assisted suicide: Voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia is conducted with the consent of the person that wishes to take their life, while involuntary euthanasia is conducted without the consent of the person that wants it. With involuntary euthanasia the decision is made by another person because the other is incapable of saying yes or no for him or herself.

There are two procedural classifications of euthanasia: Passive euthanasia and active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is when life-sustaining treatment is withheld, whereas active euthanasia is where lethal substances or force is used to end someone’s life. Active euthanasia includes life ending actions done by the patient or somebody else. Active euthanasia has become a much more controversial subject than passive euthanasia.

Some people are torn by the religious, moral, ethical and compassionate arguments surrounding the past and present issues on euthanasia (assisted suicide). Over the years euthanasia has been a very controversial topic. Assisted suicide can be interpreted several different ways. Conceivably the most widely used and accepted interpretation around the world is “the intentional speeding up of death by a terminally ill patient with assistance from a doctor, relative, or another person”. (Nordqvist, 2010) Some people would insist that something along the lines of “in order relieve unstoppable suffering” needs to be added to the meaning, while others insist that “terminally ill patient” already includes that meaning. (Nordqvist, 2010) Right To Die (Assisted Suicide) Laws

Every state within the continental United States has their own say as to how assisted suicide is considered a law. Currently there are 34 states that have statues explicitly criminalizing the right to die: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Nine states criminalize assisted suicide through the common law of that particular state: Alabama, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, Vermont, and West Virginia. Three states have abolished the common law of crimes and have no statues criminalizing assisted suicide: North Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming. In the state of Ohio their supreme court ruled in October 1996 that assisted suicide is not a crime. In Virginia there is no real clear case law on assisted suicide, nor is there a statue criminalizing the act, although there is a statue which imposes civil sanctions on people assisting in a suicide. The two remaining states are the two that permit physician-assisted suicide. (Assisted Suicide Laws State by State, 2012)

There are many laws around the world on assisted suicide that are clear in some nations but in others they are unclear if they exist at all. Just because countries have not defined its criminal codes on the specific action did not mean that every assister would go free. This particular situation is a complicated state of affairs. Great deals of people instinctively feel that assisted suicide and suicide are individual acts of freedom and free will, so they assume there are legal prohibitions. This misconception has landed many people in trouble with the law. While suicide is no longer a...
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