Argument in Favor of Euthanasia Essay

Argument in Favor of Euthanasia Essay

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Debate about the morality and legality of voluntary euthanasia has been a phenomenon since the second half of the 20th century. The ancient Greeks and Romans did not believe that life needed to be preserved at any cost and were tolerant of suicide in cases where no relief could be offered to the dying or when a person no longer cared for their life (Young). In the 4th century BC, the Hippocratic Oath was written by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. One part of the Oath states, “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause and abortion” (Brock). For 2,400 years, physicians made these solemn promises. Until very recently the Hippocratic Oath was taken by all new physicians. It was a rite of passage. It has only been the last 100 years that there have been concerted efforts to make legal provision for voluntary euthanasia. The word “euthanasia” comes from two Greek words, “eu” meaning good or easy and “thanatos” meaning death (all.org). Traditionally, euthanasia meant painless death or death without suffering. Today, the term has many names, the main one being mercy killing. Assisted suicide has been legally tolerated in Switzerland for many years (Kimsma). In the 1970-1980’s a series of court cases in the Netherlands culminated in an agreement between the legal and medical authorities to ensure that no physician would be prosecuted for assisting a patient to die as long as certain guidelines were strictly met. In brief, the guidelines were established to permit physicians to practice voluntary euthanasia in those instances in which a competent patient had made a voluntary and informed decision to die, the patient's suffering was unbe...


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...ck. Life choices: a Hastings Center introduction to bioethics. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1995. 537. Print.
Jotkowitz, Alan, S. Glick, and B Gesundheit. "A Case Against Justified Non-Voluntary Active Euthanasia (The Groningen Protocol)." American Journal of Bioethics 8.11 (2008): 23-26. Web. 30 March 2011.
Keown, John. Euthanasia Examined: Ethical, Clinical, and Legal Perspectives. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. 340. Print.
Kimsma, Gerrit, and Evert van Leeuwen. Asking to Die: Inside the Dutch Debate about Euthanasia. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002. 35-70. Print.
McCuen, Gary. Doctor assisted suicide and the euthanasia movement. Revised Ed. Hudson, Wisconsin: G.E. McCuen Publications, 1999. 152. Print.
Young, Robert. "Voluntary Euthanasia." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Fall 2010 Edition. 2010. Web.

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