The Right to Die

Powerful Essays
The Right to Die

1. Introduction

Why has the right to die initiated such a vigorous debate among philosophers, lawyers and doctors? The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution states "No State shell deprive…any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law." [1] However, how does one define life? Even more so, how do we define a life worth living? Does the right to privacy give the individual freedom to choose even on issues concerning the termination of his own life? Or does the state have the right to interfere with person 's choice to terminate his life if it is in the best interest of the society? This paper will try to address the issues stated above by taking into consideration arguments of both sides, pro and against the right to euthanasia.

2.1 Nancy Cruzan 's Case shapes History

The case of Nancy Cruzan is now part of the history of the US Constitution for it arose the most extensive debate so far in terms of the right to die. After her car accident at the age of twenty four, she was left in coma and in what doctors describe as permanent vegetable state. [2] Having no hope for their daughter 's improvement in future, her parents petitioned the court asking to grant the hospital authorization to terminate artificial nutrition. Although the State court granted the permission, the Supreme court of the US reversed the decision on the grounds of insufficient evidence that Nancy would refuse a life as a vegetable, as well as on the argument that the state must do everything in its power to preserve life. [2]

2.2 Right of Privacy at Stake

Prior to the accident Nancy has told her friend that in case she was left in a state where there was no hope for her improvement, she would rather not live at all. However, the Supreme Court found this not to be a convincing evidence of Nancy 's wish not to be subjected to a medical treatment. It further stated that a "clear and convincing evidence" would take the form of a Living Will,



References: 7 Civil Liberties The Right to Die Research Paper

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Euthanasia is defined as the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment. Euthanasia, today, has become a very controversial topic. The issue and question at hand is whether or not to allow euthanasia. We are questioned to let the ill have a prolonged life mechanically but miserably, assisting suicide, or natural death. Many people see death as an inevitable part of life while others fear it and want to strive to live on. However, the issues that are around euthanasia are not only about death, they are about ones right to privacy and control over their own body; in other words the fourteenth amendment.…

    • 612 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Person's Right to Die

    • 953 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Over the past decade, we have gone from Dr. Jack Kevorkian's first public assisted suicide to the first legal assisted suicide in Oregon. The underlying issue has been whether terminally ill individuals should have the right to ask a doctor to hasten their own deaths. However, larger issues have been raised as well; about dying with dignity and what constitutes a ''good death.''…

    • 953 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    emphasizing patient autonomy in bioethics and law. It is argued that the decision to end one’s life…

    • 718 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    14th Amendment Case

    • 521 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In the fourteenth amendment it states no person is allowed to be denied life, in that case, should we have the right to die? In 1983, the supreme court ruled in favor of Nancy Cruzan, in the case of Nancy vs. Missouri, by vote of the Supreme Court 5-4. Yes, the Supreme Court made the right decision. My reasonings are because Nancy Cruzan died by choice.Next, a few days before she died nineteen doctors actually tried to reinsert the tube. Lastly, Missouri life support were taking away her right to pursue happiness.…

    • 521 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    It is obvious why this case and especially its verdict has caused such an uproar with ethicists and society. The ethical dilemma presented in this case is whether Canadian law has the authority to prohibit Sue Rodriguez the right to pursue physician assisted suicide as a way to end her life.…

    • 1166 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Health Care Ethics

    • 254 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Bartling case was about whether William Bartling had the right, over the objection of his physicians and the hospital, to have life-support equipment disconnected despite the fact that withdrawal of such devices will surely hasten his death. When he entered Glendale Adventist Hospital in California in 1984, he was known to be suffering from emphysema and diffuse arteriosclerosis, coronary arteriosclerosis, abdominal aneurysm, and inoperable lung cancer. At the end, He had to use mechanical respiratory and chest tube to assist his breathing in the ICU. Although each of these conditions could individually be lethal, he was not diagnosed as terminally ill. At first, Mr. Bartling asked his physicians to remove the ventilator but they refused. Then Mr. Bartling attempted to remove the ventilator tubes but was unsuccessful. Eventually, to prevent his attempt, he was placed in restraints so that the tubes could remain in place. The case was taken to Los Angeles Superior Court by Mr. Scott. Because he was not considered terminally ill, the court refused either to allow the respirator to be disconnected or to order that Mr. Bartling’s hands be freed. At the second time, the case was taken to the California Court of Appeal. However, the result was that Mr. Bartling had the right to make his own decision, which was obviously different with the first time. So I think the main issue in this case is about patient’s decision-making capacity, specifically, when patient is able to make make the decision of his own medical…

    • 254 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Sue Rodriguez

    • 1319 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Sue Rodriguez, once a woman who was lively and healthy women much like the rest of us was given the horrible news that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in early 1991 changing her life tremendously. Little did she know her fight for equality of life would create a milestone in Canadian Law. Sue Rodriguez fought long and hard to demand the right to assisted suicide, which at the time was illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada, being a punishable act for up to a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. Ms. Rodriguez argued that Section 241 (b) of the Criminal Code (which prohibits assisted suicide) violated her constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the person under S. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Unfortunately both the British Columbia Supreme Court and the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed her application. Sue Rodriguez at her final attempt of trying to grant herself the right to assisted suicide appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, the verdict resulting in a five to four decision with the Supreme Court of Canada dismissing her appeal. In 1994, Ms. Rodriguez decided to take matters into her own hands, with the help of an anonymous physician Sue Rodriguez ended her life.…

    • 1319 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    When a patient is unable to make decisions for himself or herself, their caregivers and those who know them are appointed to make the decisions based on what the patient would have wanted. This is called surrogate decision making. According to the article Terri Schiavo and End-of-Life Decisions “when surrogate decision makers and caregivers cannot agree upon what that choice would have been, they may turn to the courts to determine either what the now-incapacitated patient would have chosen or who is best suited to choose as the patient would have” (Mathes, 2005)…

    • 1043 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    The Terri Schiavo Case

    • 1626 Words
    • 7 Pages

    On February 28, 1990, twenty six-year old Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage when her heart stopped for five minutes. Terri's condition was the subject of intense debate and media scrutiny over the subject of euthanasia and guardianship. Given the circumstances of Terri's vegetated condition, and no physical proof of her wishes, the last word on whether or not Terri would stay alive was given to her husband Michael Schiavo, by the state of Florida. Michael's argument was that he was carrying out her wishes to not be kept alive in that state. Terri's family challenged Michael's claims saying she is responsive and in no discomfort, that her condition does not meet the medical definition of "vegetative," and that she would not wish to die. Although she never wrote a living will expressing a wish to refuse nutrition or medical treatment if disabled, her condition and future life span should have been her family's decision rather then her husbands. Despite of Michael's intentions, the method of starvation as a means of relieving her of her pains and suffering can still be seen as down right unethical as it is immoral. Terri suffered a legal and public murder. Though Mr. Michael Schiavo's intention and objective were presented as selfless, the government had failed to look into other mitigating reasons for his choice.…

    • 1626 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Right to Die

    • 2085 Words
    • 9 Pages

    People with terminal illnesses have unbearable pain and suffering. Large medical bills are accumulated when terminally ill patients go in-and-out of the hospital to try and ease their suffering. Thus, increasing economic affliction for the surviving family.…

    • 2085 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The judge should have the final say in when a person should be taken off of life support, with two disagreeable parties. Unfortunately, the person on life support does not have the ability to determine when to end life support. The battle is perhaps one of the most important cases the court system has dealt with. For the first time in history, medical ethics have been under great inquiry.…

    • 505 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Throughout many cases in the past it has been seen that the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause are objective and “...deeply rooted in this nation's history and tradition...”(Katsh 101). Yet no matter how much our nation has evolved this is a decision that is still very rooted in our nation's values. The States' assisted suicide bans have in recent years been reexamined and reaffirmed. It is clear that because of advances in medicine and technology more and more people are dying in medical institutions. People want to keep the dignity at the end of life and as a result they have remained firm in their decision of the ban, but have created “living wills” and have permitted refusal of life-sustaining medical treatment as ways to give them more autonomy. The many cases have also shown that “many of…

    • 583 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Vacco Vs Quill Case Study

    • 3200 Words
    • 13 Pages

    "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 instruct that a mentally competent, terminally…

    • 3200 Words
    • 13 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    Assisted Suicide

    • 2527 Words
    • 11 Pages

    Today there are millions of people who are living with a terminal illness. Many of these people are basically waiting to die. Modern medicine can either do nothing more to help them or they have enacted their right to refuse treatments. Whichever the case may be the question arises: should we have the right to choose to die? This paper will be examining euthanasia and assisted suicide. It will begin by first defining what euthanasia; it will also be looking into the different types of euthanasia; there is passive and active. Next I will share my own personal feeling on the issue of euthanasia. I do believe in certain circumstances that euthanasia should be allowed; after all the law does support a human beings right to determine what will be done their own body. Each person is going to have their own view of the issue; my opinion on it is not going to be the same as someone else’s. Then this paper will define and describe the special populations that are presented on the Pro/Con website as well as how this population might be adversely affected by euthanasia. I will discuss my own beliefs regarding euthanasia and these special populations. And finally this paper will look at the laws concerning physician assisted suicide in Texas. It will compare and contrast theses laws against Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.…

    • 2527 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    "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 instruct that a mentally competent, terminally ill person has a protected liberty interest in choosing to end intolerable suffering by bringing about his or her own death.…

    • 533 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays