Active Euthanasia Should be Legalized in the United States
Uploaded by gpavlushkin on Dec 12, 2003
The practice of euthanasia has posed a question of morality and ethicality which has been a major topic of controversy for centuries. It raises the issue of whether a terminally ill person should suffer torturing and lingering pain before death, or if they should be given the choice of peaceful and painless death. The euthanasia controversy is part of a larger issue concerning the right to die and “staunch defenders of personal liberty argue that all of us are morally entitled to end our lives when we see fit” (“Euthanasia” 1). Early practices of euthanasia have been traced back to the ancient Roman and Greek Empires. In their beliefs “ the ancient Greeks and Romans did not consider life needed to be preserved at any cost and were, in consequence, tolerant of suicide in cases where no relief could be offered to the dying or, where a person no longer cared for his life” (“Voluntary Euthanasia” 2). The word euthanasia derived from the Greek words eu – thanatos which means gentle and easy death. In society, euthanasia can be viewed in two different forms; passive and active. Passive euthanasia involves a terminally ill person to do nothing to prevent his or her death and allowing himself or herself to die. On the contrary, active euthanasia involves a request by the dying patient or that person’s legal representative to have a physician inject a lethal dose of a drug to kill the person. Active euthanasia is the more controversial of the two and is currently illegal in the United States.
The attempt to legalize euthanasia has lead to the “right to die” movement which states that such laws violate the people’s privacy and rights. This movement was led by Dr. Jack Kevorkian who believes “people have a right to avoid a lingering, miserable death by ending their own lives with help from a physician who can ensure that they die peacefully” (“Jack Kevorkian” 1). Dr. Jack Kevorkian respected requests from the patient and illustrated rebellion against such laws which strip people of the right to choose their own fate. The state of Oregon protects the laws of active euthanasia and provides a choice with the Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which allows prescriptions of lethal doses of a drug to be self - administered by the patient under strict circumstances and procedures. Making active euthanasia in the United States illegal sparked...