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Research paper of Euthanasia

Updated on June 26, 2010

Peter Niewrzol

June 3, 2010

Life or Death: the Practice of Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a very complex and difficult issue to comprehend, partially because of how it’s described by religion, the government, and just your ethical motives behind euthanasia. Although people are open minded to using euthanasia when they’re terminally ill or suffer of such problems were death would be better than life, the great majority of people, including politicians, priests, and doctors have many moral objections to the topic. Euthanasia is as a matter of fact, humanly wrong, and goes against civilizations most sacred laws. Such an act was blatantly expressed in the Hippocratic Oath, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”(Hippocrates line 7)

            Starting from the twentieth century, euthanasia became a popular choice for terminally ill patients. As more and more people fled from hospice care, the doctors became worried over the moral issues surrounding killing a patient who may have been under the influence when making such a decision. Robert Baird shares his thoughts of euthanasia and the doctor in his book Euthanasia: the Moral Issues, “…That the homicide was clearly intentional is 
confirmed by the resident's act of unrepentant publication.
”(Baird) As the art of mercy killing spiraled out of control the government had to take action, firstly, they decided to make a law that if doctors were to perform euthanasia, they would be tried as murderers. Furthermore the controversy surrounding Euthanasia has made it illegal in all fifty states and most of the world, the Netherlands however, do not oblige. One of the few countries to perform mercy killing has attracted people from all over the world who wish to end their suffering. On an unrelated note, the hospice care in the Netherlands is extremely unacceptable for the fact most doctors don’t specialize in longevity due to the fact most people resort to euthanasia.

            When Washington debated over the practice of Euthanasia, many groups began debating which eventually got the topic sent to the Supreme Court for deliberation. A contributing factor such as Washington V. Glucksberg that got all the way up to the Supreme Court that prohibited physicians practicing euthanasia on humans; one keynote address given by Glucksberg was that the laws treatment of assisted suicide in our country has always been rejected (Glucksberg 1997). Ever since his and many other cases the Supreme Court banned the practice of voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Despite the verdict, Oregon and Washington allow physician assisted suicide. This involves many consent forms in showing that the person is fully willing to commit suicide that is documented by two doctors and witnesses. Once the case is reviewed and approved, the doctor can prescribe a barbiturate that will cause death in a painless sedative. Only one-hundred twenty seven people opted for taking the medicine to date. Although prohibiting a rather pain free treatment to terminally ill patients, allowing doctors to take away life saving device such as a feeding tube or respirator to cause death is legal in every state.

            The media has always disapproved of euthanasia, such as the infamous Jack Kevorkian and how the media covered his trial. This man was somebody was giving people drugs that he knew would kill them. Some people in the media gave him sympathy for killing some people who were senile and couldn’t make decisions of their own. He undoubtedly got convicted and received a ten year prison sentence. Another national headline was Terri Schiavo, a woman who due to unknown reasons went into a vegetative state. Because her husband could make decisions on her well being, he felt removing her feeding tube to cause inadvertent death. the media portrayed him as a monster for doing this when she was in a world of pain as it is; the director of the Terri Schiavo foundation Mr. Bobby Schlinder reported , “My sister was never dying or on life support. We took her everywhere in her wheelchair. The media distorted her condition” (Schlinder). Due to how sensational death is the media usually portrays it as extreme.

In order to supplement Euthanasia to patients, the hospital has to spend hundreds of dollars for the medication, paperwork, and footage as evidence in event something happens. However to treat a person properly it could take$40,000 to treat a patient properly so that they don't want the "choice" of assisted suicide...” (Smith). Due to the fact that most hospitals across the globe don’t have enough money or proper technique, using medicine euthanasia would be a cost effective means of controlling an epidemic. Countries in Africa use such methods in controlling the population and for genocide.

There are many differences between Euthanasia and assisted suicide; assisted suicide is when a doctor prescribes medication to the patient who knows that it will end their life. The doctor does not administer the dose or anything else; only Oregon and Washington allow this in the United States. Euthanasia is categorized in six categories: voluntary, nonvoluntary, and involuntary, each separated into two additional forms, active or passive. All active forms of euthanasia are illegal which the direct cause of the patient’s death is.

            While most people in the world agree that euthanasia is against human decency some people will argue that it is necessary for terminally ill patients. While the jury remains decided to keep euthanasia illegal many efforts are underway that might life the law under some circumstances such as for terminally ill patients.

Works Cited

Baird, Robert M., and Stuart E. Rosenbaum. Euthanasia: the Moral Issues. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1989. Print.

Cauthen, Kenneth. "Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia." Frontier Homepage Powered by Yahoo! 14 Oct. 2005. Web. 03 June 2010. <>.

Deigh, John. "Is There a Moral Difference between Active Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Suicide? - Euthanasia -" Euthanasia -- Should Euthanasia Be Legal? Web. 03 June 2010. <>.

"EUTHANASIA & ASSISTED SUICIDE." Personal Websites - Office of Information Resources and Technology. Web. 03 June 2010. <>.

"Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide." - Your Life, Family and Culture Outpost. Web. 03 June 2010. <>. -- Home Page. Web. 03 June 2010. <>.

Kevorkian, Jack. Prescription--Medicine: the Goodness of Planned Death. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1991. Print.

Peck, M. Scott. Denial of the Soul: Spiritual and Medical Perspectives on Euthanasia and Mortality. New York: Harmony, 1997. Print.

"Physician-Assisted Suicide: Ethical Topic in Medicine." UW Departments Web Server. Web. 03 June 2010. <>.

Ponnuru, Ramesh. The Party of Death: the Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2006. Print.

"Quotes about Euthanasia." Strange Wondrous Quotes and Quotations. Web. 03 June 2010. <>. 


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      is it right to kill a person when Jesus save us from dying because of our sin?


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