Professor KuykendallEnglish IA T-TH7 December 1998 People should have the right to choose whether they want to live or die when it is under certain circumstances. Euthanasia allows people to die a painless death when they feel they are ready. It is not something that should be used for a person who is depressed or who no longer wants to live, but in cases where patients have terrible illnesses or handicaps that they no longer wish to have burdening their lives. If people are truly mature enough and if they really think things through rationally, they can definitely make a decision about whether they want to live or die.
A peaceful and painless death with dignity is a right that should be guaranteed to every human being.
Religion sparks some of the most controversial thoughts on euthanasia. Most people involved in religion see suicide as outright wrong no matter what the circumstances. Most religions stress that God is the one who gives humans life so, therefore, He is the only one able to take it away.
In the information Plus series on death and Dying, a claim was made that “Neither the Old nor the New Testament explicitly prohibits the act”(59). When people claim that the bible does not specifically identify suicide as wrong, then why is there so much religious controversy? Many religious people have answered this question by stating their beliefs that there does not need to be anything written down in the bible about suicide because the act is such a terrible and unacceptable thing. The truth of the matter is that people just need to look at their own beliefs and realize that not everyone is alike. Many different religions exist and many people also claim to not have a religion of their own or a belief in God at all. These peoples rights and thoughts should definitely be taken into account. A positive thing is happening though, is that numerous amounts of people are changing their attitudes towards suicide and euthanasia when it comes to religion. Rather than viewing these subjects as wrong, more people are becoming sympathetic. The view that God does not want to see humans in pain and that He is truly loving and tolerant has become more common. As a result to these changing views of people, some religions are changing their philosophies. The Unitarian Universalist Association, which is the Unitarian and Universalist churches combined, has actually begun to support voluntary euthanasia. This association has made a ground breaking step into the future for euthanasia. Basically it all comes down to the fact that people have a right to their beliefs, whatever they may be. It is essential that everyone’s beliefs be respected. If someone believes that euthanasia is the correct answer then the right should be there for those people.
People deserve the right to decide whether they want to live or die. A court case decision on March 6, 1996, found that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees this personal liberty,”A competent, terminally ill adult, having lived nearly the full measure of his life, has a strong liberty interest in choosing a dignified and humane death rather than being reduced at the end of his existence to a childlike state of helplessness, diapered, sedated, incompetent”(81). This court case struck down a law that made assisted suicide a felony but still today, not many people are able to choose whether they want to die or not. Recently more and more organizations that support euthanasia have begun to emerge. These organizations fight for the public’s right’s . Derek Humphry started one of the most well known organizations for euthanasia. They named themselves The National Hemlock Society. The go by the motto,” A good life, a good death.” Yet another organization devotes itself to justifiable suicide. They call themselves The Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization. Derek Humphry also founded this group. Most euthanasia support groups contain quite in depth philosophies and agendas. They support that people need to have definite reasons and follow ethical and reasonable guidelines for euthanasia. These organizations and many more see that this gets done. Euthanasia is not for everyone. An example of some of these guidelines are that the person is a mature adult, that they make a definite decision and indicate it with a living will, and that a person with a terminal illness tries to find other means of treatment before even considering euthanasia. Many more standards besides these must be followed. If guidelines such as these are used as parameters for allowing people to use euthanasia as their means of dying, then it will let the people prove that it is what they really want to do.
Many reasons exist for why people ask for death through euthanasia but most commonly people use two reasons. The first reason is if a person is terminally ill and experiencing terrible pain. The second reason is if a person is severely handicapped to the point of having no possible way to recuperate. Most people who support euthanasia find these two reasons justifiable. When people face severe handicaps and deathly illnesses, it turns into a very degrading experience. For some it also very difficult for them to accept the fact that they may be sick or handicapped and they sometimes begin to feel that they would rather be dead than alive. Who wants to go on living their life when they cannot even do anything for themselves? When people reach that point, they feel as if they have no dignity left. A person needs to be able to decide when he or she is ready to go. Many people simply do not want to die while being hooked up to a machine and not even being able to breathe on their own. This is truly degrading for a person. Most people decide that they do not want their deaths to linger on. Terminally ill patients and patients with extreme handicaps face the fact that they must deal with pain but who wants to have to endure terrible pain until the day they die? It is enough to drive a person crazy after awhile. A person can only take so much and at sometime he or she may decide that they do not want to deal with it anymore. This becomes the time when people decide that death is the answer. People who want to die are doing it for compassionate reasons, not selfish ones. They simply want to end their suffering . They are also thinking about how they want to put an end to their families suffering. They do not want their family to see them in pain. Patients deserve this right.
A great deal of people do not believe in euthanasia. Many of these people support the “right to life” movement rather than the “right to die” movement. The “right to life” movement supports the fact that people should live life to it’s fullest and endure everything to the end. The one problem about this is that sometimes people cannot always make it to the end. A person knows when it is the end for them. There is no one else who can possibly be the judge of this. Who can say whether another person has lived their life to it’s fullest extent or not? Who’s right should it be to choose? The answer only lies with the person dealing with the pain. Others believe that euthanasia is simply not a moral solution to any problem. They conclude that life and death are not for people to tamper with. Euthanasia is not tampering with life or death when death is inevitable for the patient. It is simply just speeding up the process. Many view euthanasia in the same way as suicide. Suicide is different from euthanasia because suicide is deliberately taking one’s life because they simply no longer want to live. Euthanasia is more like an end to suffering. It an allows an ill person who has no possible chance of survival or a cure end their life in a dignified way. It is a more ethical reason than deliberate suicide. Another reason why people do not agree with euthanasia is they feel that the doctor and patient relationship will change. Some feel that doctors may neglect their patients and not treat them with the utmost care. They assume that doctors will use euthanasia as a quick answer. Many also think that people will abuse euthanasia instead of using it for real reasons. People will have a hard time abusing euthanasia as long laws are made to protect the people and their rights. If everything is treated and dealt with in the right way, euthanasia could be a positive answer for those who are truly in need of it. It would allow them to die how they want to.
People need to gain their rights when it comes down to important matters. Especially when it has to do with someone’s well being and their future. Certain rights are guaranteed to the people in this country but many more rights need to be fought for. Euthanasia needs to be looked at by everyone and considered as a possible solution to a large problem. When people are on their deathbeds it is in their best interest to decide what to do with themselves. People have the choice of being put on life support systems and letting everyone else do things for them or they can decide when they are ready to end their life and do it before they are degraded to live as a helpless child. They can die with some dignity. People need options. Euthanasia needs to become one of them. It is ethical and reasonable because people are out there supporting the “right to die” movement and making sure that standards and guidelines are being set to monitor euthanasia in the right way. These guidelines help to make it so that people do not abuse this right. It is not for everyone and only people with real problems such as terminal illness or a severe handicaps should even be considered. Many precautions need to be taken and if people truly do want to end their life, they will be willing to follow them. Why can’t we give a person the right to choose? It is so unfair that so many people need to die without being in peace. People do not deserve to experience unneeded pain or be drugged to the point of unconsciousness. Euthanasia helps people to end their suffering and should be an option to everyone who believes it is the ethical solution. People should have the right to use euthanasia as their answer.
Works CitedDrinan, Robert F. “The Constitution and the Right to Die.” America 20 April 1996: 6-7Humphry, Derek. “Why I Believe In Voluntary Euthanasia.” Euthanasia World Directory 1995.
Essays. Online. Internet Explorer. December 2, 1998. Available: http://www.finalexit.org/Landes, Alison, Cornelia Blair, and Jacquelyn F. Quiram. “Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.”Death and Dying Who Decides? Information Plus: Texas, 1996.
Peck, Scott M. “Living is the Mystery.” Newsweek 20 May 1996: 18
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