In the 1998 assisted suicide of former race car driver Thomas Youk, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Dr. Kevorkian took a different approach: he injected the lethal drugs himself, crossing a line in the minds of many. Subsequently, Kevorkian began the world wide controversy on a patients right to die (Frontline). Euthanasia is only legal in three U. S. states: Oregon, Washington and Montana. Although, there are regulations; a patient with an illness that will kill them within six months can request lethal drugs from a doctor.
The request must be confirmed by two witnesses, one of whom cannot be related or known to the patient. Only when the patient has waited an additional fifteen days and reconfirmed the request can the lethal dose be given. As for other countries, euthanasia is legal in Australia, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland. The regulations for euthanasia in these countries are much like that of the United States (ERGO). People who support the right to die believe that legalizing euthanasia would help alleviate suffering of terminally ill patients and that it is inhumane and unfair to make them endure the unbearable pain (Hemlock).
Also, they think that in the case of individuals suffering from incurable diseases or in conditions where effective treatment wouldnt affect their quality of life; they should be given the liberty to choose induced death, If you dont have liberty and self-determination, youve got nothing, thats what this is what this country is built on. And this is the ultimate self-determination, a quote by Jack Kevorkian, himself (Frontline). In addition, euthanasia activists agree that the motive of euthanasia is to aid-in-dying painlessly and thus should be considered and accepted by law.
It is also considered to go against the right of human dignity as it is the patients right to protect their dignity and die with their dignity. In an attempt to provide medical and emotional care to the patient, a doctor does and should prescribe medicines that will relieve his suffering even if the medications cause gross side effects; this means that dealing with agony and distress should be the priority even if it affects the life expectancy (Hemlock). Activists have the same opinion in that euthanasia follows the same theory of dealing with torment in a way to help one die peacefully out of their compromising situation.
Thus, it is believed that euthanasia should be a natural extension of patients rights allowing him to decide the value of life and death for himself. Maintaining life support systems against the patients wish is considered unethical by law as well as medical philosophy. In opposition, anti-euthanasia activists often use religious reasoning; as euthanasia goes against God and his plan. Who are we to play God? They ask themselves, would mercy killing transform itself from the right to die to right to kill? (American Catholic).
People who are against euthanasia believe mercy killing is morally incorrect and should be forbidden by law; as it is a homicide and murdering another human cannot be rationalized under any circumstances. Today, advanced medical technology has made it possible to enhance human life span and quality of life; and they believe other options are available. Palliative care and rehabilitation centers are better alternatives to help the disabled or the dying live a pain-free and better life.
Since the predictability of ones period of death and whether there is a possibility of remission or recovery is rarely completely accurate; activists believe that implementing euthanasia could lead to many unnecessary deaths. Given that these patients could have potentially survived. Anti-euthanasia activists agree that mercy killing would cause a decline in medical care and lead to victimization of the most vulnerable society (American Catholic). Many terminally ill people are dealing with unbearable suffering, and can do nothing but attempt to tame the pain.
Most people want to live their life with dignity, and die with dignity. People live their lives the way they choose to. They make important choices and decisions throughout their life. Some of these decisions are very difficult and life changing decisions. Being as we live in a democratic society, we are free to make our own decisions. Death is an inevitable event that we all must experience. Thus, patients have a constitutional right to refuse further treatment, as some people may choose not to suffer with unbearable pain. They may not want to live a life that has no meaning.
Also, many terminally ill patients do not wish to burden loved one with caretaking and financial worries. As the patients suffering increases, their dignity decreases. I believe the value of respect of human dignity can be used here to morally guide us in our decision of right and wrong. If a man or a woman does not wish to die incapable of self care, at loss for human dignity and in a state of complete vulnerability; then who are we to tell them they cant? It is ultimately the patients choice; and if that patient chooses death¦ then so be it.