Essay Preview: Euthanasia
Report this essay
The definition of euthanasia can best be described as physician-assisted suicide or “the act of mercifully ending the life of a hopelessly suffering patient” according to Dubose. It has been practiced since the time of the Greeks and the Romans, and since then there have been debates. There are only three jurisdictions now where euthanasia is legal, which are Oregon, The Netherlands, and Belgium. (Marker) It is a very peaceful way for someone who is in excruciating pain to die. It just makes sense to let the patient decide on whether or not they want to live, if there is no hope in getting better. Though a citizen does not have the constitutional protected right to die, euthanasia is not about the right to die; it is about the right to kill. Despite all the arguments against it, I strongly believe that euthanasia should be legalized everywhere.

The Romans and Greeks believed strongly in dying decently and rationally. They were very spiritual about euthanasia and would voluntarily commit suicide when they felt that they fulfilled their life. The Greeks and Romans felt that they had to die a good death, and it was accepted morally accepted by everyone, according to McCuen. Further in the era it was “in classical antiquity, then, there was a generally recognized, although qualified, tolerance of the “freedom to leave”, which permitted the sick or suffering to terminate their lives.” (10. McCuen). Today the main support in the present day now comes mostly from activists who want to change the laws. These organizations are only able to pursue their agenda because of funding from a handful of extremely generous sources. (R.Marker).

Since 1984, euthanasia has been illegal in the Netherlands, and is liable to be punished by up to 12 years in prison. The practice though, is protected by guidelines set by the Royal Dutch Medical Association and with strong public support for over 20 years now according to McCuen.

“The guidelines require that four conditions be met before euthanasia is preformed: (1) the patient must be a mentally competent adult; (2) the patient must request euthanasia voluntarily, consistently, and repeatedly over a reasonable time, and the request must be documented; (3) the patient must be suffering intolerably, with o prospect of relief, although the disease need not be terminal; and (4) the doctor must consult with another physician not involved in the case.” (24. McCuen)

The doctors that practice this method hardly ever get prosecuted and simply do not report euthanasia and just ascribe the death to natural causes, until around 1990 since the circumstances were unclear. “There were many anecdotes about violations of the guidelines, including instances of euthanasia being preformed without the patient’s request.” (24 McCuen)

On November 8, 1994 The Oregon Death with Dignity Act was passed. This stated that a citizen had the right to die and “allows physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to competent, terminally ill adults.” (40. McCuen) This act has been disputed in Federal Court and turned back to Oregon voter for repeal when it was first repealed. It also includes that “An adult who is capable may make a written request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner in accordance with this Act.” (41), which I believe makes great sense and should be followed everywhere.

Another point to consider when deciding if euthanasia should take place is whether a person has the right to die. Though, people do have the right to commit suicide, technically euthanasia is not about giving the patient the right to die; it is the right to kill. Sadly enough, “each and every year, in the United States alone, there are 1.5 times as many suicides as there are homicides.”(Center for Disease Control). Euthanasia also is about changing the rights so that doctors can have right to cause the death of another patient’s life. The problem with having another person perform the death is that “it can lead to tremendous abuse, exploitation and erosion of care for the most vulnerable people among us.”(Marker). Lastly, there final point is that legally:

“Citizens do not have a constitutionally protected right to die…The decision of the court in June 1997 reversed an earlier decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Northern California (see previous reading). The Court ruled that a Washington statute prohibiting assisted suicide was consistent with the nation’s legal tradition and not in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the court did not recognize a constitional “right to die,” it left open the debate on the sanction of physician-assisted suicide to state legislatures.” (81. McCuen)

Though most would agree with allowing euthanasia be preformed only if it were for those patients who are terminally ill, but it cannot be done because of two issues. There is a problem with the definition of the word “terminal”, the Oregon assisted suicide law and Dutch doctors both have variable definitions. Also, with the exceptions that have already been made for those who are not terminally ill, according to Marker. The Netherlands has never approved the concept of allowing euthanasia or assisted suicide if the patient is terminally ill in the past. In new laws now “unbearable suffering of either a physical or mental nature has been the factor that qualifies one for induced death.”(International Task Force).

Another frequently asked

Get Your Essay

Cite this page

Federal Court And Definition Of Euthanasia. (July 14, 2021). Retrieved from