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The Right To Commit Suicide Essay

2382 words - 10 pages

The right to die is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, “pertaining to, expressing, or advocating the right to refuse extraordinary measures intended to prolong someone's life when they are terminally ill or comatose” (Definition). There has been a constant debate for over a century regarding the controversial right to die topic. Many people have different views and plenty of questions arise when dealing with such a sensitive subject. Should we be given the right to commit suicide with the help of a physician? Should we be able to refuse treatments and procedures at our own will? These questions are the same questions that have been up for debate for years. These are the questions that have sent many people to court throughout these past years. Those are the people that have set precedents, changed laws and have been a part of historic cases.
There are a couple different ways a person can go about killing themselves. Some can be done legally and others illegally. Those ways are euthanasia which have different forms and physician assisted suicide. Euthanasia consists of passive and active euthanasia and involuntary, voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia. Most times they can be combined to form types such as voluntary passive euthanasia. Forms of Euthanasia defines these different types of euthanasia as follow. Active euthanasia is described as another person causing the death of a patient. An example of this would be giving a patient enough painkillers to overdose and kill themselves. Passive euthanasia is another type which is legal but has drawn a lot of controversy. It can be defined as withholding and withdrawing from treatments. Involuntary euthanasia is the killing of a patient whose wishes are to stay alive. An example of this would be killing someone out of mercy although they wish to stay alive at any means possible. Voluntary euthanasia is when a patient specifically asks to die. Non-voluntary euthanasia occurs when the patient is unable to make the decision of dying or staying alive. This is most common in children or people that are mentally unstable. Physician assisted suicide can be described as a dying patient seeking the help of a physician to help kill themselves (Forms of Euthanasia). Most of the controversy has been centered on physician assisted suicide. Active euthanasia and physician assisted suicide differ in that physician-assisted suicide entails making lethal means available to the patient to be used at a time of the patient’s choosing whereas active euthanasia entails the physician taking an active role in carrying out the patient’s request and usually involves delivery of a lethal substance (What is the difference).
The first state to start the right to die movement in the United States was Ohio when it sought to legalize euthanasia. However, they were unsuccessful in doing so. There was finally some success when Dr. Kutner created the living will. Also known as advanced care directives, the living will...

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