Euthanasia: The Right To A Peaceful And Merciful Death

2152 words - 9 pages

The arrogance of mankind has dampened the hope that individuals can achieve a dignified death.

"Science says: 'We must live,' and seeks the means of prolonging, increasing, facilitating, and amplifying life, of making it tolerable and acceptable, wisdom says: 'We must die' and seeks how to make us die well." - M. De Unamund

sss. Whoosh. Hum. Beep. Slurp. A clock alerts her. Time to flip him over. The tired woman struggles to lift the six-foot, four-inch skeleton for the fifth time that day. Time to suction the massive bedsores filled with pustules. Slurp up the puss again. "Ed, do you want to try to eat today?" No response. The eyes are vacant, and the expression is infantile. The tongue hangs from the mouth, and a string of saliva drools onto the bed sheets. The woman inserts liquid food into the feeding tube once again. Hsss. Whoosh. Hum. Beep. Slurp. "Ed, it's time to see if you've done your duty yet." The woman peers into his diaper and sadly realizes that for the seventeenth day in a row he has not had a bowel movement. Insert the suppository into his rectum again. Hsss. Whoosh. Hum. Beep. Slurp. This woman, once a strong-willed professional and competent mother and grandmother, has lost fifteen years of her life to the task of caring for someone who no longer recognizes her.

Euthanasia is the process of mercifully ending a person's life, allowing that individual to escape terminal illness or an undignified death. The term has taken on many new meanings in this modern age of medical technological advancement. Scientists have devised numerous inventions to help prevent the death of humans faced with medical tragedy. The question is just how long humans should undergo life-saving and life-prolonging treatments before they are permitted to die peacefully. The fierce battle between those who support and those who oppose euthanasia has made society recognize the importance of this topic. A rational understanding of the issue makes it possible to respond to the objections of those who oppose euthanasia. Understanding the issue will support the claim that all forms of euthanasia should be made legal in the United States to protect the right that humans should have to a benevolent death.

"Euthanasia is a new-fangled notion that violates traditional social and religious beliefs!"

Human beings have practiced euthanasia since the classical era of Greece and Rome. Deformed infants born in the city-state of Sparta were left to die so that the society would not have to admit them into their "strong and robust" society. The Romans would assist their elderly citizens in dying so they could relieve their families of the burden of their care (Shaeffer 5). Though Euthanasia has long been practiced, only recently has society begun criminally prosecuting physicians who engage in it.

"No civilized nation would permit a practice like euthanasia!"
The United States has laws that permit some forms of passive euthanasia, which is the halting of...

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