When does the government have the right to tell a person how they can live their life. More and more this issue has come in to the public eye. Everything from freedom of speech to abortion has been brought up in this debate. I myself am a bit confused when it comes to where my rights stop and the government s starts, but I do know that everyone should have the right to decide when and how they die. One of the biggest controversies of this decade is euthanasia. Euthanasia is inducing the painless death of a person for reasons assumed to be merciful. Euthanasia itself has been around since the early Greek and Roman civilizations.
Over the years though, mainly because religion increased and life was viewed as sacred, euthanasia has come to be look at as a bad thing. But that was not the case for all. Organizations supporting the legalization of voluntary euthanasia were established in Great Britain in 1935 and in the United States in 1938. They have gained some public support, but so far they have been unable to achieve their goal in either nation. In the last few decades, Western laws against passive and voluntary euthanasia have slowly been eased,although serious moral and legal questions still exist. 1
There are for types of euthanasia: voluntary and direct, voluntary but indirect, direct but involuntary, and indirect and involuntary. Voluntary but direct euthanasia is chosen in advance. Direct but involuntary is done for the patient without his or her request. Indirect and involuntary is when the hospital decides to pull the plug on life support. And Voluntary and direct is chosen and carried out by the patient. Patients are allowed to choose passive euthanasia but can not choose active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is when nothing is done to prevent death. Active euthanasia is when one deliberately causes death.
The last form or euthanasia is the one that has come under the most fire. In recent year Dr. Jack Kervorckian has made news by helping over forty patients end their lives. He was first charged with murder in December of 1990. He connected Janet Adkins to his suicide machine which allowed her to inject lethal drugs into her body at any time. To many he is a saint for ending the suffering of his patient, but to others he is nothing more than a cold blooded killer. What most people do not know is that the state has the right to become very involved with euthanasia cases.
The state can specify the number of individuals that must agree for euthanasia to be performed. The state can specify how frequently someone can sign an euthanasia authorization. They can also that only the individual can decide. All in all the government has taken almost all of the right to die on their own terms away from many dying and terminally ill people. Part of the reason this has happened is because some opponents of euthanasia have feared that the increasing success that doctors have had in transplanting human organs might lead to abuse of the practice of euthanasia.
It is now generally understood, however, that physicians will not violate the rights of the dying donor in order to help preserve the life of the organ recipient. Though this is an extreme it is not a likely thing that would happen. Living wills are the loopholes in the governments fight against euthanasia. It can express a patients thoughts towards his or her future medical treatment. They allow anyone capable of making decisions to tell a doctor before hand that they do not wish to be put on life support. Though for some the option of living wills is not know to them.
I do not agree with the government s involvement in this aspect of American life. For someone to tell me that I do not have the right to have my doctor or family assist me in my death is wrong. The government is here to serve the needs of its people not take away their rights. On a poll taken by CNN/USA Today in 1997 it was found that 57% of the people polled were in favor of euthanasia in the US while 35% were opposed. With facts like that I do not understand why the government if afraid to give us the right to decide for ourselves.
Everyday people in this country celebrate the right to choose but for some the right to choose has been taken away from them. As they lie in bed slowly and painfully dying, they are forced to endure it because if laws enacted by state governments to keep people from getting the assistance they need to kill themselves. If they were healthy individuals this would not be the case for they would be able to do it on their own. In their present situations many are too weak to end their lives on their own. I belive to many seeking the help of a doctor is the last feasible option that they see.