Euthanasia--what does this word mean? It comes from the Greek words "eu" and "thantos" which translate to "good death" ("Euthanasia World Directory," www.efn.org/~ergo/). Though this is the very literal meaning, it has become a more complex concept in our current society. Assisted suicide, self-deliverance, auto euthanasia, aid-in-dying are all terms that deal with the choice of achieving a good death; the choice of deciding for oneself when it is time to escape unimaginable pain and have the chance to die with the dignity we all deserve.
According to the Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization (ERGO!) there are two main forms of suicide ("Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization," www.finalexit.org). One is "emotional suicide," which is defined as an irrational self-murder in all of its sadness. While most common, this form of suicide has no practical purpose. The second form is "justifiable suicide," or planned self-deliverance from a painful and hopeless disease which will shortly end in death ("Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization," www.finalexit.org). Though still considered "suicide" this form has practical purpose and, therefore, should be looked upon in an entirely different context.
One problem society has with assisted suicide is that it is still suicide. A person is ending their life prematurely for some reason. Often with regular suicide this reason is an emotional response to something such as the death of a loved one or unemployment. Society feels that these are also reasons people engage in assisted suicide. This concept is totally false.
Assisted suicide is used only in two specific cases. One is if the person has an advanced terminal illness that is causing unbearable suffering to the individual. Examples of this would be late forms of cancer or AIDS. This is the most common reason to seek an early end to one's life. The other case is if the person has a grave physical handicap which is so restricting that the individual cannot, even after due consideration, counseling, and re-training, tolerate such a limited existence ("The Verbal Battle Over Euthanasia," www.religioustolerance.org). This is a fairly rare reason for suicide since most people learn to cope with their situation, but there are some who would, at a certain point, rather die.
Since, at the current time, assisted suicide is not widely legal there are no laws giving the ethical parameters. The public often thinks that since regular suicide has no rules or restrictions, neither does assisted suicide. This is incorrect.
Most every "suicide bill" currently trying to gain approval shares several guidelines that must be met before the suicide may be preformed. The person must be a mature adult. This is essential. The exact age depends on the individual, but the person should not be a minor who comes under quite different laws ("The Verbal Battle Over Euthanasia," www.religioustolerance.org). The person must have clearly made a considered...