The Right To A Pain Free Death

2270 words - 9 pages

The practical definition of euthanasia is the act of ending life painlessly, most often for someone suffering from an incurable disease. However, it is not possible for all life to end free of pain. The death may be peaceful, but the agony suffered throughout the disease is hard to forget and the untimely death of that person will be remembered. Euthanasia is a very controversial topic that divides professionals in medical and legal fields along with the general public. One of the main reasons that the debate about euthanasia has been disputed so much is because it challenges the moral values of people. Supporters of euthanasia believe in the value of life, but they don't place it as highly on their moral scale. Instead, a supporter of euthanasia might argue that individual rights are of the highest value, or that quality of life is more important than the value of life itself. The logic here is that although life is clearly an important value, there may be times when life itself is not worth living. If a person has a low quality of life, they may make the decision to end their life because it is no longer worth living or no longer a good life.
Over the past half century, the percentage of Americans who say doctors should have a right to help end an incurably ill patient’s life has doubled to about seventy percent. One of the strongest points euthanasia supporters have is the desire for independence, the urge for people to choose a course of action that is based on their personal values. When the person involved is suffering from an intolerable pain, the use of euthanasia is there to relieve them. A supporter of euthanasia might claim that respecting the right of a patient to choose should also include respecting that person’s choice to die.
Oregon, Washington, Montana, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg are among some of the states and countries that have had euthanasia legalized (Marker). In the Netherlands, euthanasia accounts for 1.8 percent of all deaths and 5 percent of the cases in which doctors decisions play a role (FJ). The number of reported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands has grown. In 2003 there were 1815 reported deaths, while in 2008 the number jumped to 2331 reported deaths (Schadenberg). In 1997 the United States Supreme Court passed the Death with Dignity Act in Oregon. This specified that assisted suicide was not a constitutional right, but that individual states are open to prohibit or allow it if they choose to do so. Since then, three more states have deemed physician assisted suicide to be legal (Yount).
Physician assisted suicide seems to diminish the value of human life. One thing that sets the United States and other countries apart is our appreciation and respect for human life. Ending life is a decision that should never have to be made. Presenting it as an option to patients is compelling them to decide to end their suffering prematurely, sometimes for the wrong reasons. “Doctors should no more grant...

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