Euthanasia: The Right To Choose Essay

2127 words - 9 pages

The word euthanasia is a combination of the Greek prefix Eu, which means “good,” and “thanatos,” meaning “death. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “the act or practice of killing individuals that are hopelessly sick or injured for reasons of mercy. Euthanasia or “mercy killing” as they more commonly call it is a highly debated topic that has many aspects. Financial, moral, social, and most important, legal concerns are raised whenever euthanasia is brought up. The controversy surrounding euthanasia can only be resolved when the procedure is legalized with mandatory, regulatory guidelines put in place to enable both physicians and individuals to decide the best course of action for ...view middle of the document...

As one who is dying, I have especially come to appreciate the gift of life. For the court to accept assisted suicide would send a false signal that a less-than-perfect life is not worth living (Peres, News Section).” This stance is surprising different from those of practicing Jews. Different surveys on Jews willing to participate in physician-assisted suicide indicate that with a ratio of almost 3:1, Jewish respondents would participate in the procedure although it appears that the response is against Jewish teaching. However, it may not be against the teachings because the prime teachings are that each person is an individual and that “loving kindnesses should be extended to each person” (Newfield, np.). The two illustrated religious thoughts reflect our society’s confusion over the issue of euthanasia: the people who want to legalize physician-assisted suicide because they believe that it is an individual’s choice to decide to die with dignity and the people who believe euthanasia should remain illegal because it is wrong to kill. Religion has changed the established standards of beliefs in the past to encompass the beliefs of the people. They can do it again.
Societal opinion over euthanasia is highly debated, maybe one day all the issues can be resolved and the bickering over mercy-killing will end. Of course, on the pessimistic side, the right to die debate might never be concluded. Choice in Dying reminds us that “Although the concept of the right to die has interested philosophers since the time of the Greeks, it was not until recently that the issue became a pertinent and widespread social concern.” A cancer patient named Robert Dent wrote the following in a letter before he died of an injection that he requested (Australian Man First in World, A5). “If I were to keep a pet animal in the same condition I am in, I would be prosecuted. If you disagree with voluntary euthanasia, then don’t use it, but don’t deny me the right to use it.” He requested euthanasia and received it; he was the first Man to be granted the choice to die. Whatever it may mean in other settings, in the context of euthanasia, the right to die refers to the claimed right of a person to be killed on request and the right of another to kill when asked. Neither of these claimed rights are to be found anywhere in ethics or law, and they are usually asserted, not argued. Genuine natural rights place an obligation on others to respond to them, but the advocates of euthanasia always point out that a request to be killed will not be binding on anyone. There is no reason to suppose that these claimed rights are genuine, and hence they do not deserve respect.
The main issues of euthanasia are maintaining the status of illegality, legalizing the procedure, and regulating the procedure. The controversy of euthanasia involves moral, ethical, and legal concerns. “In this country, according to a survey reported in the Journal of American Medical Association, nearly 63...

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