If a loved one has a terminal or incurable disease, is it morally right to allow one to control his fate and die with dignity or die a long, excruciating death? The process of killing patients with terminal or incurable diseases, known as euthanasia, allows people to die without suffering. Within Sophocles’ play Antigone, Antigone commits suicide so she does not have to endure her death sentence. Sophocles’ Antigone, and other modern events, provide the knowledge that allowing people to die with dignity is morally right; euthanasia and physician assisted suicide would enable patients with terminal or incurable diseases to die with dignity before it destroys their health.
There are two types of euthanasia, known as active and passive euthanasia. Administering lethal drugs that kill the patient with permission from the patient or a person in charge of one’s wishes qualifies as active euthanasia (Alters 3). Whereas active euthanasia kills the patient with drugs, passive euthanasia removes or stops a patient’s life saving medical treatment so the person can die naturally (Alters 3).
Active euthanasia contains three processes: voluntary, non-voluntary, and involuntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia includes having a patient give the doctor orders to end his or her life (Frey 324). Non-voluntary euthanasia involves one taking the steps to end the live of someone else that qualifies as incompetent by legal and medical authorities (Frey 324). And when steps are taken to end a patient’s life without the patient’s consent qualifies as involuntary euthanasia (Frey 324). Experts call involuntary euthanasia murder, because no patient or any legal authority gives permission to end the life. When a patient wishes to end his or her own life, it has morality and enables the patient to decide what is right for his life.
Regarding the practice of euthanasia, many religions, like Christianity and Judaism, condemn the process. For example, one of the Ten Commandments says, “one shall not kill,” and conservative Christians and Jews believe that it applies to suicide and euthanasia (Jackson 9). The metaphysical act of one’s soul being released associates with death (Jackson 9). From that, people associate death with spiritual powers, and that leads people to tiptoe around process of death. Saint Augustine believed that man is the property of God, and except to achieve martyrdom, suicide is an evil act (Jackson 9). And St. Thomas Aquinas believed that organisms have a natural tendency to keep themselves alive, therefore, making suicide a violation nature’s law (Jackson 9).
With more people dying from terminal illnesses each year, euthanasia becomes a more debated and controversial topic. Until one century ago, most people died in their own homes, now “over 85% of Americans die in hospitals” (Jackson 6). And every year, over 2,000 children die from cancer alone, and even more children die from cystic fibrosis and other genetic disorders (Appel 5). Within 141...