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Euthanasia, A Controversial Issue In The Us

944 words - 4 pages

Euthanasia is a controversial issue in the United States and also in the rest of the world because it deals with the subject of killing someone in a merciful way that eases one's pain and suffering. Basically, there are two main categories describing euthanasia. One category defines the method in which the patient is allowed to die, either by active means, which means that the patient is killed, or by passive means, which means the patient is allowed to die through a lack of care. The other category deals with consent, which can be voluntary, where the patient gives consent to be killed, and the other being involuntary, where the patient has not expressed his or her intention to die. Accordingly to Jeffko, an expert on contemporary ethical issues, these two pairs of distinctions generate four distinctive types of euthanasia: "active and voluntary, active and involuntary, passive and voluntary, and passive and involuntary" (87). Among the heated disagreements that have plagued the court systems in American, there are people who dispute the validity of the distinction between active and passive euthanasia. Whereas there definitely is a clear cut distinction between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, there is a grey area for the other category. For example, active euthanasia is actually illegal in all states of the US, but passive euthanasia is allowed in many states. However, many opponents of euthanasia say that there is no such thing as passive euthanasia. By allowing someone to die by letting him or her starve can be easily construed as killing the person. This and many other fine lines exist in the intricate subject matter of euthanasia. Other opponents of euthanasia, such as religious people, use quotes from the bible and church to argue against euthanasia. Before forming a defense in favor of euthanasia or opposing it we must evaluate the many factors and conditions involved.Let us open our discussion on euthanasia by creating a very simple hypothetical situation. Consider a situation made up by Olver, a husband and his wife are captured by ruthless spies and are sentenced to death. The wife and the husband are both strapped in a machine that administers electric shocks causing the wife to writhe in pain. In this unfortunate scene, the husband is given access to a button that will kill his wife instantly, stopping her screams and suffering. Should the husband ease his wife's pain and end her life, or should he hold on to the thread of hope of being rescued before she is shocked to death (Olver 38). Should he listen to his wife's dying wishes or sit and watch her slowly die from electrocution. These answers are not easy to answer, especially for those who are deeply religious. But in general, I...

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