The Perfect Murder Essay

1817 words - 7 pages

The Perfect MurderSection 215 of the Criminal code clearly outlines restrictions regarding the withholding or withdrawal of medications to assist a suicide. This section states that, "every one is under a legal duty to provide necessaries of life to a person under his charge if that person is unable, by reason of (...) illness, mental disorder or other cause, to withdraw himself from that charge and is unable to provide himself with the necessaries of life." With these restrictions, many individuals feel their rights are being infringed upon. Doctors especially handle patients extremely cautiously when prescribing medication of any kind. Often a patient will not be administered an ample amount of medication, for fear that if the inevitable occurs, the doctor will be held criminally responsible.In Norway, one doctor has tried testing the laws of euthanasia and suffered the consequences. Dr. Christian Sandsdahlen, age 82, was convicted of first-degree murder by the Supreme Court of Norway on April 14, 2000. Dr. Sandsdahlen was asked by Bodil Bjerkmann (age 42 and suffering from an incurable multiple sclerosis) to help end his agony by prescribing a lethal dose of morphine. The doctor complied and when Bodil Bjerkmann passed away peacefully, Dr. Sandsdahlen demanded to be tried for murder. He was convinced that ethical considerations would prevent him from a conviction and open the door to a judicial debate about the subject. Although the doctor appears to have failed, it is apparent that euthanasia laws in Europe are becoming less strict. Even in Canada it is apparent that euthanasia cannot be ignored.A Saskatchewan farmer, Robert Latimer, was tried for the mercy killing of his severely disabled daughter in October 1997. He was found guilty of second degree murder, which in Canada carries a minimum sentence of ten years, however, the jury recommended he be eligible for parole after one year. Svend Robinson, a Burnaby-Douglas NDP, is attempting to shed light on the topic. He wants the House of Commons to "look at the recent developments in the Netherlands and also to look in depth at the whole issue of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide and make recommendations to Canadian law....In my view, the existing provisions of the criminal law are profoundly unjust and, in some cases, cruel."Robinson and many other Canadians are not the only ones to believe that assisted suicide should be made legal. Australia's Northern Territory passed a law in 1995 that permitted euthanasia under stern guidelines and only when certain prerequisites are met. In Columbia, euthanasia is permitted only when the terminally ill have clearly given their consent. In Holland, euthanasia remains illegal, though doctors cannot be prosecuted if: the patient is in intolerable pain (including emotionally), the patient has repeatedly and lucidly asked to die, two doctors agree on the procedure, relatives are consulted and the death is reported. Even our friendly neighbors have...

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