Euthanasia: The Right to Death
An increasingly debated topic around the globe is that of euthanasia. Euthanasia, according to dictionary.com is "the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition". It is also known as "mercy killing". (Dictionary.com, 2014) While in some circumstances it is an acceptable practice, euthanasia is utilized in many situations both immorally and illegally. This paper will discuss when the practice should and should not be used, as well as potential risk factors of legalization and preventative measures of illegal acts, pertaining to this method of dying.
Euthanasia in the United States
There are many opinions and ideas on both ends of the debate over euthanasia, ranging from enthusiastic advocacy to angry condemnation, as well as confusion to many others in "gray matter" areas.
Many times this confusion leads a willful ignorance. To understand the basic concepts and foundations for each side of the debate, we must first understand what euthanasia is, and that not all forms are patient voluntary. The two types of "mercy killings" are active and passive death - active being the administration of a drug to cause the death; passive being to end any preventative measures of previously given to the patient. This distinction is thought to be "crucial for medical ethics", says Dr. James Rachels, former professor of moral philosophy for the University of Miami. He continues to say that "the idea is that it is permissible, at least in some cases, to withhold treatment and allow the patient to die, but it is never permissible to take any direct action to kill the patient". (Rachels, 1997) Although active forms of euthanasia is only...