Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

Essay by johnsgomezUniversity, Bachelor'sB, July 2004

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Mentally competent people or guardians of noncompetent people should be able to make the right-to-die decision. In the following paragraphs, many controversial issues will be discussed to possibly sway your opinion on a very important issue, but in the end the decision will rely solely upon you and your beliefs.

In recent years, debate has intensified in the United States over the question of whether terminally ill people should have the legal right to obtain a doctors help in ending their lives. Assisted suicide and euthanasia also called the right to die movement, which has either been barred by the law or has been prohibited by court rulings in almost every state. In 1997, the Supreme Court upheld two state laws that barred assisted suicide. The court ruled that the constitution sis not guarantee an individuals "right to die."

Euthanasia must be legalized in a way that individuals are to decide for themselves what should or should not be done to their bodies.

That is, laws must be strengthened and guidelines must be set to ensure the right of euthanasia will not be denied to people. The case for euthanasia is justified on three fundamental moral principles: mercy, autonomy, and justice (Battin 18).

First, there is the principle of mercy. This means that one ought to relieve pain of another and that it is a doctors duty to relieve pain and suffering for the patients. Granting mercy sometimes requires euthanasia, both by direct killing and letting die. Moreover, allowing doctors to end the life of terminally ill patients is more merciful than allowing them to die slowly and painfully.

Second, there is the principle of autonomy. That is, euthanasia is an individual's choice. It is the right of those who have a desire to be free from pain and total...