What is the value of life exactly? Who decides whether or not someone’s life is valuable? These and many other questions are asked when the controversial topic of euthanasia is discussed. Certain groups and different politicians disapprove of the legalization of euthanasia, arguing that it is immoral and unethical. Doctors use modern medicine and expanding technology to “extend” one’s life. However, court mandates and/or politicians should not decide our rights. Especially when it involves our own bodies. When we feel as though we should end the pain and suffering from a terminal illness, then I believe it’s our autonomy. The individual and/or the individual’s family should make the final decision. A patient of a fatal disease such as cancer ought to have the right to be granted a dignified death, free of shame. Forcing a human to sit in a bed endlessly suffering, spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in a prolonged death is a waste of time, money, and avoidable pain. America was built on freedom and the individual choices we make: choosing how and when we want to end our life should be a legal freedom of every American citizen. Liberty is a constitutional right; if death is the only feasible method of liberation- so be it.
Euthanasia can be traced as far back as to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The word “euthanasia” comes from the Greek language, meaning “good death” (Jussim 45). It was sometimes acceptable in these ancient societies (Jussim 45). As time passed, religious influence grew, and life was viewed as a sacred gift from the creator. Euthanasia, in any form, was deemed wrong.
In this century, there have been many groups formed that are for and against euthanasia. In 1935, the first group that was for the legalization of euthanasia was formed (Finsterbusch 246). It was called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and was started by a group of doctors in London. The first society established in the United States came soon after, in 1938 (Finsterbusch 246). It was called the Hemlock Society, and it now consists of more than 67,000 members (Finsterbusch 190). This group gained so much support advocating legalization that the issue became a large debate splitting the country in half. The purpose of this society is to support your decision to die. Also it offers support when you are ready to die. As generations passed, it became more and more requested from relatives that their loved ones die peacefully. It became less possible to watch a loved one hooked up to machines that carry out daily tasks as simple as breathing until the end approached abruptly. Euthanasia is a way to spend the last moments of life with family and friends, not with machines, procedures, and most definitely not pain.
Many individuals who have lost the capability to make their own decisions have what is called a “surrogate” make health-care decisions for them (Jussim). Living wills are a major part in the legal aspects of euthanasia. A living will...