University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
“Freedom is defined as “the power to determine action without restraint” . Given this definition, is the practice of euthanasia morally justifiable or wrong? The debate of freedom arises. Euthanasia is acknowledged as a “mercy killing.” It is “the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition”. This begs the question: does an individual have the right to decide to take another individual’s life? Religious groups would ultimately argue euthanasia is a “crime against life.” (Citation?)The issue of morality and ethnics are proposed. Is it moral to kill someone to take them out of their pain, as opposed to letting them live suffering? This is when spirituality comes into opposition with human rights.
Euthanasia is a controversial issue that compares one’s quality of life to ethics. It can be viewed as a form of suicide or a form of being merciful. Even so, does humanity have the right to determine if someone should die or not? Those who are governed by a faithful belief may see euthanasia as practiced against god’s will. However, others may believe mankind has the choice over their own lives (Remove comma) and that the belief of god is a theory. Economic costs and human resources are legitimate arguments as to why euthanasia may be an acceptable option. Yet, could financial problems cause one to consent under pressure?
Euthanasia denotes “good death” in Greek. This begs the question: does a “good death” exist? Despite it being acknowledged as painless, arguably it is still murderous. Society is forbidden to commit murder, making euthanasia contradictive, since it is allowing one to take the life of another. (Perhaps it may be helpful here to define “murder.”) Medically, euthanasia is the “norm” and portrayed as a gracious practice. Morally, it is dissipated and seen as an immoral exercise. Even though euthanasia is a “merciful killing,” it does not change the fact that it is murder. This practice is unethical and unrighteous. It should be internationally forbidden and prohibited.
In 1999, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was sentenced to a 10-25 year prison term for giving a lethal injection to Thomas Youk, a man who was in the final stages of amyotrophic . (Perhaps here you can explain a little bit about the disease, i.e. what it does, what this man’s life was like, what kind of pain he was in, what his future (if any) would hold.) Kevorkian saw his actions as a deed. Kevorkian stated that he has “helped more than 130 people since 1990”. The defense party focused on the issues surrounding euthanasia, while the prosecution concentrated on Dr.Kevorkian’s actions associated with Michigan’s laws. The prosecutor stated, “This case is about what Jack Kevorkian did, and what he did under the law under the state of Michigan is commit murder”. This trail did not touch base on the political aspect of euthanasia, but on the ethnical side. Thomas Youk videotaped himself consenting Dr. Kevokian to take his life, yet Dr. Kevokian was still charged with committing a crime. This is proof euthanasia is wrongful. There is no difference between Dr. Kevorkian and a medical surgeon when it comes to taking a life; the practice is still murderous. The court found him guilty since his actions were unlawful; meaning in general euthanasia can arguably be found a crime.
A similar case in Saskatchewan occurred when Robert Latimer murdered his severely disabled daughter, Tracy, on October 24th, 2008. The reasoning for Latimer’s immoral act was he could not bear to witness his daughter suffering from a severe form of cerebral palsy. He killed her by placing her in the back of his Chevy pickup, ran a hose from the exhaust to the cab, and watched her die. Latimer was convicted on November 4, 1993 of first-degree murder. The following year he was convicted of second-degree murder. This begs a question: what is the difference between Latimer’s actions, killing his daughter who suffers from excruciating pain, and a doctor who was given permission from a loved one to kill an individual who is also suffering from a brutal pain? A doctor must receive authorization to kill a patient who is overly sick.
Doesn’t Latimer have the right to take his own daughter’s life, since a doctor would have had to ask him anyways to have the right to “kill” Tracy? Latimer supposedly saved his daughter from being in pain, which is the same reason why many individuals chose to give permission for those who are not physically in good health to undergo euthanasia. His methods were the same as a person with a medical degree. He watched an innocent individual die. Latimer was punished since his act was seen as wrongful. So why it is that euthanasia is seen as “merciful killing?” Many thought Latimer’s behavior could be compared to the act of euthanasia, since it’s perceived as a “compassionate homicide”. How could a man who watches his daughter die is seen as a “merciful killing?” Obviously it was not, which is why he was sentenced for second degree murder. Are you suggesting that these decisions be taken out of the hands of qualified medical personnel? You could make reference to the qualifications of doctors in these situations; it could contribute to your essay.
John Pearson, born in June 1980 in Derby City Hospital, was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome (http:// http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2600923.stm.) and was left in the care of a specialized consulting pediatrician, Dr. Arthur. Three days later, Pearson was found dead. Dr. Arthur was later charged with the baby’s murder. He was allegedly asked by the parents to take the life of this child, whom he killed by starvation. In November 1981, Dr. Arthur was acquitted of murder (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2600923. stm), due to him taking the life of a child with the parents’ consent. (If he was acquitted of murder, you cannot call him a murderer. You can refer to him as an alleged murderer, but because he was not convicted, anything else would be inappropriate.) This is proof that the practice of euthanasia is causing other individuals to believe they have the right to take the life of someone in their family whom is suffering from a disease or disability. (Are you suggesting this newborn was able to make their own decision as to whether or not they wanted to live with this disability? If so, why do we not allow children to make more decisions at a younger age? Why not let elementary
students vote, for instance, or enter into their own legal contracts? Make sure your stances are logical and well thought out. The more times you allow an opposing view to poke holes in your statements the more difficult it will be for you to stay credible.) John Pearson may have not been as “privileged (Remove comma)” as others in society due to his disability, but he did not deserve to die.
It can be argued that euthanasia is form of suicide. This outrages religious groups who see this practice as immoral (Remove comma) and against the word of god. Suicide denotes “the killing of one self.”(Citation?) Euthanasia, a majority of the time, occurs when individuals decide to medically kill someone who is undergoing crucial agony. This practice can be perceived rather as “murder.” Murder means to “cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/commit/suicide). (This statement and the one previous should be placed earlier on in the essay. You can then make reference to it here if necessary.) Either or, euthanasia is condemned by many religious laws. The Jewish perspective states that instances of euthanasia should be dealt with as such: “any form of active euthanasia is strictly prohibited and condemned as plain murder”(http://www.aisha.com/societywork/science /Doctor-Assisted_Suicide.asp). Talmudic and Rabbinic sources state, “One who is in a dying condition is regarded as a living person in all respect (Talmud – Smachot 1:1).” The Jewish religion also believes: “One may not close the eyes of a dying person” (Talmud – Smachot 1:1).
Rabbi Merri interprets this saying as, “It is to be compared to a sputtering candle which is extinguished as soon a person touches it – so too, whoever closes the eyes of a dying person is compared to have taken the soul” (http://www.aisha.com/societywork/ science /Doctor-Assisted_Suicide.asp). Islam also criticizes euthanasia. Muslims see life as being sacred, since Allah provided it to them. Allah decides how long each human being will live, not a doctor. It states in the Qu’ran 5:32, “If anyone kills a person – unless it be for murder or spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed the whole people”
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/islamethnics/ euthanasia. shtml). The Qu’ran 3:145 clearly establishes, “And no person can ever die except by Allah’s leave and at an appointed term” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/islamethnics/euthanasia. shtml).
This rule also applies to Christianity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2003) states: “All forms of suicide and euthanasia remain strictly prohibited, but questions of moral culpability and eternal salvation are left open” (http://www.acu-cell.com/suicide.html). In the Orthodox Church decisively is in opposition of euthanasia and considers it as, “as form of suicide on the part of the individual, and a form of murder on a part of others who assist in this practice, both of which are seen as sins. The Church does not expect that excessive and heroic means must be used at all costs to prolong dying, as has now become possible through technical medical advances” (http://www.acu-cell.com/suicide.html). Depending on your citation style requirements, this quote should probably be in block format since it is longer than 40 words.)
Internationally, there are over 3.3 billion Christians, Muslims, and Jews who are opposed to euthanasia (http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Theology-World-Religions.htm) . However, Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist groups make up 850 million of the world’s population (http://www.atheistempire.com/reference/stats/index.php). Atheists question the truth in religion; therefore they do not recognize euthanasia as a sin, or as a form of suicide. (Are you suggesting that all of these people believe euthanasia is a positive thing?) Even though theology is governed by powerful messages, it’s still not a reliable source. Religion is still seen as just a theory, since it is just a belief. Humanity has not yet seen or conversed with a higher power, so the religious information provided to mankind has not been proven.
On January 11, 2003 Dr. David Jerrrey wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper the Financial Times. In the letter he stated, “Terminally ill patients often fear being a burden to others and may feel they ought to
request euthanasia to relieve their relatives from distress” (cite). Given economic situations, many patients and families of the patients feel pressured by medical figures to turn to euthanasia. Michael Prowse wrote in the newspaper the Financial Times, published January 4th 2003, “If euthanasia became socially acceptable, the sick would no longer be able to trust either doctors or their relatives: many of those earnestly counseling a painless, ‘dignified’ death would be doing so mainly on financial grounds. Euthanasia would become a euphemism for assisted murder” (Michael Prowse). Many feel psychologically pressured to consent to voluntary euthanasia because they maybe a financial burden to their loved ones. However, those who do personally require euthanasia without being forced will allow this practice to continue. Humanity has the choice of fundamental principles, being they believe they should be allowed to make the decision if they want to die, since it’s their own life.
There is a shortage of hospital space, so those who have slim chances of living may feel that by them dying another who has a greater chance of life can have more attention by medical care (Michael Prowse). These arguments can be seen as a valid, which may overrule the fact that euthanasia is murderous. Individuals may sympathize with those who are in great pain, and feel they cannot continue on with life. Despite these intellectual reasons, euthanasia is a form of murder, and a practice that should be banned.
Euthanasia is a deliberate act of killing. Since the beginning of mankind our world has been exposed to laws that forbid murder. In the Ten Commandments, “thou shall not murder,” (Citation?) has influenced recent laws. This ethnical issue must be solved, but with the help of communities (Remove comma) and countries. There are two forms of euthanasia that must be focussed on: active euthanasia, or “inducing or assisting in the death of a person, who is undergoing intense suffering and who has no practical hope of recovery” (cite), and passive euthanasia, which is “withholding life-saving equipment or treatment, by medical equipment I mean surgeries, chemotherapy and other treatments beyond basic food, water, warmth, care and personal attention” (cite). Each form must be individually looked at. Passive euthanasia is what society must accept. Active euthanasia contradicts the
law (Remove comma) and commandments. The money that is being put into cloning and other scientific practices should be put towards cures that can stop the diseases which cause individuals to turn euthanasia.
The truth is mankind continues to play the role of god. Our world is presently exposed to cloning; organ transplants, etc. (If this is a strictly formal essay, refrain from using “etc.” Rewrite your sentence to something like “Our world is presently exposed to such morally compromising issues such as cloning and organ transplants.”) This allows one to think that euthanasia will become a dominant practice internationally. More will rely on it (Remove comma) and see it as a consideration in their decision whether or not they want to live or die. Religion does contain truth. Only nature should have the power to decide when it is our time to go, but as technology continues to advance it provides mankind with the choice to determine one’s life or death.
Illnesses do cause families grief and to suffering, but if humanity started to believe in “faith” again, maybe euthanasia would have to significance, (This is not a logical sentence; please clarify.) since we just lack hope. A doctor diagnoses a patient with cancer and automatically the patient senses death. What happened to believing in miracles and fate? Maybe mankind no longer believes in miracles simply because our world continues to destruct by war, poverty, and violence. We now turn to an easy way out, since the fight seems too long. Euthanasia is just a way to control our population and economy. It is a homicidal act that should be immediately stopped internationally. Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Robert Latimer, and Dr. Arthur (Remove comma) were all charged with murder because they chose to practice euthanasia without medical consent. These three men were charged with murder, which proves this operation is murderous (Remove semi colon) despite it having the word “medical” behind it. If a doctor performs euthanasia on a normal individual it should be equally weighed because it is a deliberate act of murder. Theology condemns euthanasia simply due to it being considered a form of suicide or murder. Individuals are pressured into euthanasia because they are sick and their life becomes less important than one that is healthy.