Euthanasia To Preserve Quality Of Life

1274 words - 5 pages

Euthanasia to Preserve Quality of LifeThere is nothing more precious than human life, and one of the most important tasks of our justice system is to preserve the sanctity of it. However, when one asks a person to "go live your life" or "live life to its fullest" what is implied? We are expected to inference that we should be more adventurous, try new things, and include enjoyable experiences. Yet, what if we were prevented from doing these things because of a crippling disability, or excruciating, chronic pain? This raises the issue that when there is no quality of life, there is little sanctity in it. Therefore, to preserve quality of life, and security of person, choosing to end a life for merciful reasons, or euthanasia, should be considered a viable option.In R v. Latimer, Robert Latimer's daughter Tracy was in excruciating pain, underwent several serious operations, had the mental capacity of a four month old infant, and suffered a variety of other ailments. He believed that he was justified in killing his daughter, because in death she would experience no pain, and therefore it was a more positive alternative to her life. In the case of Sue Rodriguez, her life was in a state of slow deterioration, and by the time she deemed there was no more quality in it, she would be unable to commit suicide. Consequently, she pursued the legalization of Assisted Suicide. In her eyes, not to do so violated her Right to Security of Person under s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Examining these cases and the public reactions to them helps to shed light on the controversial topic of Euthanasia.R v. LatimerRobert Latimer was a Saskatchewan farmer. His daughter Tracy was born with extremely severe cerebral palsy, causing her to be a quadriplegic, have the intelligence of a four month old infant, and necessitate the use of spoon feeding to provide nourishment. Tracy "suffered five to six seizures daily, and it was thought she suffered great pain" (Dimensions of Law: p. 325). After another surgery was required to insert a feeding tube into Tracy's stomach to prevent malnutrition, Latimer decided that the quality of Tracy's life was so low, it would be a better alternative to euthanize her by putting her in his truck and filling it with carbon monoxide.Robert Latimer was charged with first degree murder for this killing, and was later convicted of second degree murder, and sentenced to the minimum ten years in prison. Latimer believed that because of the extenuating circumstances, that ten years was cruel and unusual punishment. He appealed to the Supreme Court, but his conviction was upheld unanimously.This case provides great interest for a number of reasons. According to Canadian law, what Robert Latimer did was undoubtedly murder. He took his daughter's life intentionally and with careful consideration. However, under certain circumstances, taking life cannot be considered murder. It is thought very humane to euthanize or "put-down" a pet...

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