Euthanasia is the practice of voluntarily ending a life to relieve pain and suffering (Euthanasia.com/definitions). The act of euthanasia differs from the act of murder in that the person who will die makes the decision to end their life. In the case of murder, the person does not wish to end their life, but anther person intervenes to bring about their death against their wishes. Euthanasia is categorized as active and passive (Euthanasia.com/definitions). Passive euthanasia means failure to provide life prolonging medical treatment and letting a disease take its natural course without intervention. Active euthanasia means to take measures to end a person’s life (Euthanasia.com/definitions). When the topic of euthanasia is discussed, active euthanasia is typically to what is being referred to.
The debate over whether euthanasia, particularly physician assisted suicide, is acceptable is a debate of global concern. Both sides of this debate have clearly defined positions. One side feels that assisted suicide is a form of mercy killing, and under certain conditions patients have a right to assisted suicide if it is their wish. However, others clearly oppose euthanasia, claiming that regardless of the circumstances, to end someone’s life early is wrong. The following will explore both sides of the euthanasia debate.
The Netherlands and Switzerland were the first countries to legalize assisted suicide for those that were suffering from a painful or deadly disease (Pollard). The issue is hotly debated, and jurisdictions around the world switch back and forth continually on the issue. On the pro side of euthanasia, it is recognized as a right of the terminally ill in order to end their suffering. It is considered to be a basic human right to die with dignity (Maisie). Proponents of the right to euthanasia propose that the right to die is a natural extension of a person’s right to make their own decisions on any other topic regarding...
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