Good Death? Essay

1402 words - 6 pages

Good Death?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (“Declaration of Independence (1776)” 1). The quote derived from the Declaration of Independence clearly states that it is no man’s power to deprive any human being of their life and pursuit of happiness. However, when a certain circumstance comes along, such as a request from another human being to have their lives taken away, which provides them with their utmost happiness, which is the choice to pick? By accepting their request, the deprivation of life is present, yet by declining their request, you are depriving them of their happiness. One of the major controversies of the world today is euthanasia: the origin, the process, and the morality of it.
Euthanasia originated many years ago. During the 1600s, the word euthanasia was introduced to the world by a man that goes by the name of Francis Bacon. During those times, euthanasia was a term defined as natural death. It was not until the twentieth century that the word came to be known as death caused by the help of another person to stop the agony (Medina 206). The very first approaches in legalizing euthanasia took place during the twentieth century as well. A group known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation Society appeared on the year 1935 in England. The group was founded by C. Killick Millard. Shortly after their formation, the Euthanasia Society of America emerged in the United States (“Euthanasia.” Encyclopedia Britannica 1).
Euthanasia is defined in many terms and a choice that affects numerous member of society. It can be referred to as “easy death” (“Euthanasia.” Compton’s by Britannica 1, “mercy-killing” (“Euthanasia.” Columbia Encyclopedia 1), or “good death” (Medina 206). Regardless of what it is perceived as, euthanasia is the deliberate performance of placing death upon a person to remove their suffering (“Euthanasia,” Encyclopedia Britannica 1). There are two types of euthanasia: active or passive. When a physician or a caretaker purposely injects a patient with fatal substances, such as an overdose of certain types of medicines or a lethal injection, it is known as active euthanasia. If a person is placed to death due to removal of life-support systems or simply deficiency of treatment, the performance is known as passive euthanasia (“Euthanasia.” Compton’s by Britannica 1). Euthanasia is a choice made by those who withhold an incurable illness, or those who are most likely not going to benefit when healed, so they take the assistance of another person to fulfill their wish of dying (Balkin 18; Somerville 1). No matter the circumstances are, numerous people believe that euthanasia is unethical and should not be legalized (Somerville 4).
Those who oppose euthanasia have many different beliefs on why it is unethical. Some believe that legalizing...

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