Euthanasia in Today's Society

Topics: Euthanasia, Roman Catholic Church, Death Pages: 5 (1917 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Euthanasia In Today's Society

Your wife of 50 years is suddenly diagnosed with a terminal disease. She lies in a bed, motionless and unaware of her surroundings. The medication to ease her pain has been wearing off. She just lies there in pain and unable to communicate with the outside world. The doctors give her a month to live at the most. What would you do? Would you let her sit in a hospital bed in agonizing pain for the last few months of her life, or do you help to prematurely meet her God? That is the topic of discussion in this paper: Euthanasia.

Let's start by defining the term. Euthanasia is also referred to as "mercy killing." That is the killing of someone for their own good due to the pain and suffering they are enduring. Euthanasia also includes situations where the individual who is suffering makes the decision to die, a type of suicide actually. In today's world there are two types of euthanasia that are most common. The first are people who, perhaps because of serious illness or perhaps for reasons unrelated to their illness, are extremely depressed and say that they want to die (Johanson 1). Research has shown that the vast majority of these people are just asking for sympathy and don't really want to die but rather hear the calls of there loved ones begging them not to go on with the procedure. They want the attempt to fail. The second type of euthanasia involve people who are suffering from an illness that makes them unable to communicate (Johanson 2). These type of people are those who are in comas, paralyzed, or simply so sick that they cannot make meaningful sounds or other communication (Johanson 2). This is a much more accepted type of euthanasia. Especially in the Netherlands where Euthanasia is more common then the United States. There are two sides to attack this issue from. One being from the view of the Catholic Church and the other from a legal standpoint. Lets start with the legal standpoint. Who has the right to tell us when or when cannot die? Many feel that we have the right to do whatever we want to our bodies because they are our personal property. It is our inalienable right to do whatever we like to ourselves. They have a point since it all goes back to how we formed our nation. We formed it on individual rights that we modeled after the ideas of Rousseau before the French Revolution. Pro-euthanasia people also believe that anyone should have the right to turn away medical treatment if he believes that the side-effects, whether pain or the burden of being tied to some machine or whatever, are worse then the disease (Johanson 1). Even if this means he will live a shorter life. Pro-euthanasia activists also believe that if someone is in there right mind and honestly wants to end his life to the pain he is suffering he should have the right to do so. Some people stretch that belief even farther in saying that we all have the inalienable right to kill ourselves at anytime for any reason at all. That is when things can get out of control. The Ohio Law Review went as far as publishing a "Model Aid-in-Dying Act" that they believe all states should accept. It states that a child over the age of six could request "aid-in-dying" and if his parents refused to agree with him, an "Aid-in-Dying Board" could overrule them and grant him his wish (Johanson 1). Sometimes the idea of euthanasia can be twisted into extremely evil ways. Some euthanasia activists believe that the patient should be put to death because they have become a burden on society. They decide that it would be more beneficial to spend the money on something more useful. This is what it has come to in the Netherlands where according to Rita Marker of the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force, euthanasia now accounts for 15% of the deaths in the Netherlands (Johanson 3). It gets pretty scary in the Netherlands with case stories like the following. A Dutch doctor diagnosed a woman with...
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