The History Of Euthanasia Essay

1426 words - 6 pages

Euthanasia has been a part of societies since 5th Century B.C. in ancient Rome and Greece. The concept of euthanasia was considered to be tolerant before the creation of Christianity. Pagan physicians would do both voluntary and involuntary mercy killings. Although the Hippocratic Oath prohibited doctors from giving drugs to kill anybody, not even if asked for, or from suggesting such an action, few ancient Greek or Roman physicians followed the oath. Though there was a wide spread support of voluntary death throughout the Rome and Greek territories. (ProCon.Org)
During the 1st Century A.D.-16th Century A.D. the rise of Christianity was blooming throughout Europe. According to the website article “History of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide” by Ian Dowbiggin, “the science and ethics of Christianity in the middle ages was that voluntary death was considered rare and was not used as a regular practice.” The Christians believed that the human life is in the hands of God which had strengthened the belief in The Hippocrates Oath. The “Father of Medicine” stated in his Hippocrates Oath “prohibited doctors from giving 'a deadly drug to anybody, not even if asked for,' or from suggesting such a course of action, few ancient Greek or Roman physicians followed the oath faithfully.” Like the Christians, the Jews had opposed the thought of euthanasia. Both religious groups that of euthanasia as suicide. Suicide was reflected to each group as sinful. (ProCon.Org)
In the 17th and 18th Centuries, the renaissance was beginning to prosper and these enlightened thinkers started to question the church and their spiritual devotion to the beliefs of Christianity. Dowbiggin also noted that many of these thinkers wrote letters to the Catholic Church stating their conduct of certain matters. These reformation writers suddenly started assaulted the church's authoritative teaching on all matters, including euthanasia and suicide. (ProCon.Org)
In Dowbiggin’s article “1828 - First US Statute Outlawing Assisted Suicide Enacted in New York”, he notifies the first real judicial recognition of anti- euthanasia and anti-euthanasia. “The earliest American statute explicitly to outlaw assisting suicide is enacted in New York. It is the Act of Dec. 10, 1828, ch. 20, §4, 1828 N. Y. Laws 19.” Said Dowbiggin. This law regarding making the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia illegal by other states and new territories, following the example of New York.
“Many of the new States and Territories followed New York's example… Between 1857 and 1865, a New York commission led by Dudley Field drafted a criminal code that prohibited 'aiding' a suicide and, specifically, 'furnish[ing] another person with any deadly weapon or poisonous drug, knowing that such person intends to use such weapon or drug in taking his own life'… By the time the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, it was a crime in most States to assist a suicide… The Field Penal Code was adopted in...

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