Euthanasia and legal issues

Essay by jrsappire August 2005

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A considerable size of society is in favor of Euthanasia mostly because they feel that as we live in a democratic country we are free individuals and have the right to decide for ourselves whether or not it is our right to determine when to terminate someone's life. The stronger and more widely held opinion is against Euthanasia primarily because society feels that it is god's task to determine when one of his creations time has come, and we as human beings are in no position to behave as god and end someone's life. When humans take it upon themselves to shorten their lives or to have others to do it for them by withdrawing life-sustaining apparatus, they play god. They usurp the divine function, and interfere with the divine plan.

Euthanasia derives its origin from two Greek words 'eu' and 'thanatos' which means 'good' and 'death' respectively. Thus the literary meaning of Euthanasia is only "good death".

It later came to be known as "mercy killing". Euthanasia is often mistaken or associated with for assisted suicide, a distant cousin of euthanasia, in which "a person wishes to commit suicide but feels unable to perform the act alone because of a physical disability or lack of knowledge about the most effective means. An individual who assists a suicide victim in accomplishing that goal may or may not be held responsible for the death, depending on local laws". Euthanasia on the other hand is defined as "The intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit. The key word here is "intentional". If death is not intended, it is not an act of euthanasia". Thus it is evident that there is a distinct difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide.

There are mainly three...