Euthanasia is Not Murder
Debate continues over the issue of euthanasia because of the recent court decision over Dr. Death. Kevorkian has been acquitted
of murder in his assisted
suicide cases and the court has created precedent for the legalization of selecting death. Euthanasia does take place and is selected voluntarily by patients who are in great pain due to an incurable illness like cancer. Usually, the decision is made to pull the plugs of machines which prolong life or to end treatment. Because patients select to die, their deaths end suffering, and there is no intention to cause harm, physician assisted euthanasia cannot be considered murder.
Murder can be defined as an act of violence which is perpetrated against a victim. For example, a man stuffed into a car after being shot five times is a murder victim. The individual dies at a time which is forced by the killer who has intent to harm him or her. For instance, when the Boston strangler killed the women, he first terrorized them. Frequently murder is painfuland the person who is dying has not voluntarily decided to participate in his or her death. By its nature, murder is death by violence at a time of the killer's rather than nature's choosing.
Unlike murder, euthanasia is not an act of violence. In an editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dr. Eric Chevlen argues that patients, who are worn down by pain, extensive testing, and depression, will be easily persuaded to seek assisted suicide (11B). Furthermore, Chevlen mentions that the courts have decided that the right to die should be made available to everyone (11B). Modern medical technology has allowed doctors to prolong life past the point of a patient's natural death. In the case of euthanasia, the doctor needs to end suffering from cancer or AIDS and assist the patient to die comfortably. Patients are beginning to assert their right to die rather than being kept alive forcibly. For example, a Texan who...
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