Euthanasia, a controversial issue in the US

Essay by billzfan11College, UndergraduateA, October 2007

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Euthanasia is a controversial issue in the United States and also in the rest of the world because it deals with the subject of killing someone in a merciful way that eases one's pain and suffering. Basically, there are two main categories describing euthanasia. One category defines the method in which the patient is allowed to die, either by active means, which means that the patient is killed, or by passive means, which means the patient is allowed to die through a lack of care. The other category deals with consent, which can be voluntary, where the patient gives consent to be killed, and the other being involuntary, where the patient has not expressed his or her intention to die. Accordingly to Jeffko, an expert on contemporary ethical issues, these two pairs of distinctions generate four distinctive types of euthanasia: "active and voluntary, active and involuntary, passive and voluntary, and passive and involuntary" (87).

Among the heated disagreements that have plagued the court systems in American, there are people who dispute the validity of the distinction between active and passive euthanasia. Whereas there definitely is a clear cut distinction between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, there is a grey area for the other category. For example, active euthanasia is actually illegal in all states of the US, but passive euthanasia is allowed in many states. However, many opponents of euthanasia say that there is no such thing as passive euthanasia. By allowing someone to die by letting him or her starve can be easily construed as killing the person. This and many other fine lines exist in the intricate subject matter of euthanasia. Other opponents of euthanasia, such as religious people, use quotes from the bible and church to argue against euthanasia. Before forming a defense in favor of euthanasia or...