14th Amendment: Right to Privacy (Right to Die)

Essay by PudgyPigeonHigh School, 12th gradeA+, September 2006

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Euthanasia is defined as the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment. Euthanasia, today, has become a very controversial topic. The issue and question at hand is whether or not to allow euthanasia. We are questioned to let the ill have a prolonged life mechanically but miserably, assisting suicide, or natural death. Many people see death as an inevitable part of life while others fear it and want to strive to live on. However, the issues that are around euthanasia are not only about death, they are about ones right to privacy and control over their own body; in other words the fourteenth amendment.

In the 1994 case of Glucksberg v. Washington, also known as "Compassion In Dying v. The State of Washington", they explore right into this controversial topic of euthanasia.

The right-to-die organization "Compassion In Dying", and Dr. Harold Glucksberg filed a lawsuit in opposition to the state of Washington for three fatally ill patients that Glucksberg treated.

Dr. Glucksberg and the organization "Compassion in Dying" entered their case saying that the ban against doctor-assisted suicide was violating the patient's right of due process and placed an unfair burden on fatally ill patients who required help to stop suffering from the disease that they had been diagnosed. Even though the case was in the state of Washington, it was seen in favor of Dr. Harold Glucksberg and "Compassion In Dying." Because of this the state laws changed in support of doctor-assisted suicide. However, the state of Washington still opposed the idea of this so they ordered an appeal of the law.

On March 6, 1996 the case reached the Supreme Court. Washington State...