Euthanasia: The Right For The Right To Die

1681 words - 7 pages

Eric Bancroft Bancroft 1Mrs. MizellEnglish 10223 March 2010Bancroft 6Euthanasia: The Right for the Right to DieEuthanasia has a long and complicated history. Throughout time euthanasia's legality and morality has been questioned. "The term, 'Euthanasia' comes from the Greek words eu meaning God, and thanatos meaning death."(Sandhyarani) and is usually associated with assisted suicide or mercy killing. Euthanasia has been around for awhile and has been used rather commonly.The Roman's and Greek's believed that, "…there is no need to preserve the life of a person who has no interest in living." (Sandhyarani). Hippocrates, who opposed the Roman and Greek opinion of Euthanasia, has a famous quote stating, "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel". Keep in mind that this was around 400 B.C. so the laws and government wasn't quite as sophisticated as it is now, much like the western frontier of the United States in the late 19th century. In 400 B.C. medicinal practices would seem like torture today, the people that underwent euthanasia back then no doubt suffered a great amount. Many people were given poison to ingest, which would essentially eat and dissolve their organs.During the 1300's England considered suicide and any assistance of another's suicide a crime and was punishable. The first actual law passed to illegalize euthanasia was in 1828, in New York. Many religious groups and other organizations were pleased with the passing of this law because they had been trying for some time to stop euthanasia which they believe to be on the same level with murder. Now there are two main types of euthanasia, voluntary and non-voluntary, it's kind of self-explanatory but voluntary involves having the persons consent and non-voluntary involves killing the person without consent. Now the first time non-voluntary euthanasia was officially used was in the 1930's when the Nazi's were trying to create the "perfect race". They exterminated hundreds of thousands of Germans along with the millions of Jews. By the turn of the 20th century there were many organizations formed regarding euthanasia, some for and some against. It seems that pro-euthanasia groups are gaining more support as the number of group members keeps growing; groups like the Hemlock Society has over 60,000 members. Many court cases involving physician-assisted suicide have been heard over the years, starting with Harold Blazer euthanizing his daughter in 1935, leading all the way up to the infamous Dr. Jack Kevorkian who was thought to have illegally euthanized at least 130 of his patients.History has shown that we have become more opposed to euthanasia with the main reason being the laws and regulations keeping it from taking place. Although it might seem, that with the new laws and the criminal punishment given to those who abuse those laws, that the debate on euthanasia is over, but it is not. In fact it is still being debated today. Euthanasia is...

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