Euthanasia, as defined in Microsoft Encarta 95', is "the act of painlessly ending the
life of a person for reasons of mercy." This paper will examine the history of euthanasia
and the issues surrounding assisted suicide. There are as many reasons for supporting
assisted suicide as there are reasons to not support it. However one looks at this topic,
we will all be confronted with this in one way or another. Medical technology has allowed
life to be sustained longer than anyone would have imagined. According to a former
church moderator, Walter Farquaharson, the issue of euthanasia "is not an issue any one of
us can remove ourselves from. It touches all of us. And if it hasn't, it will (McAteer
Euthanasia, or also known as assisted suicide, was an accepted practice in earlier
civilizations. It was considered legally and morally to be a permissible way to die.
However, it has been a hot topic for the last several years.
At first it was just another
topic, but later became a political issue that would affect courts and elections by dividing
those who support euthanasia and those who consider it a form of murder. It also has
been a topic that has divided the Christian community. A movement began in the 1970's
when Americans started to demand "death with dignity" (Worsnop 1). In the event of a
terminal illness or injury, people were refusing life-sustaining treatment to preserve life,
especially life without quality. Public opinion overall supports some form of assisted
suicide. Because of this support, most states have some form of legislation that allows for
"living wills" and "power of attorney for health care" to be planned for in advance of a
person's need to consider this (Bulletin 95-2).
Euthanasia is illegal in all states except Oregon. In...