Euthanasia - From the cradle to the grave

Essay by vanessabA-, May 2004

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

Downloaded 42 times

From the Cradle to the Grave

Yolanda Blake has cancer and was hospitalized after experiencing severe bleeding. Her sister and friend who held power of attorney insisted the hospital give Yolanda a feeding tube and catheter. They refused. A month thereafter a county judge ruled in the hospital's favour that Yolanda should be allowed to die. The very next day Yolanda woke up. When asked if she wanted to live, she responded, "Of course I do!" (Frederica Mathewes-Green 2004) Similar fates exist for all those unable to choose. Currently South Africans cannot choose death. Choice is extremely important. If choices of such magnitude are denied, what other choices will we be denied? Will we be denied some rights, based on moral or religious grounds, as was done in the past? Will we be denied a right because some in society abuse that right? Will we be denied freeing ourselves of wasted years of anguish, unbearable pain and mortifying humiliation as only subjectively experienced? Denying me the right to choose my own death, means I can be denied other fundamental rights in future, and the implications thereof are more threatening than a 'good death' could ever be.

Critics of legalizing euthanasia maintain that allowing one group in society to take the life of someone, even with their consent, would undermine the right to life. The right to life is just as vital as the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes 'the right: to make decisions concerning reproduction; to security in and control over their body; and not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent.' (South Africa Bill of Rights) Opponents of euthanasia are concerned that giving the terminally the right to choose death, by legalizing euthanasia, other categories like the...