The Case For Euthanasia Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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criminal charges were dismissed. So, the laws have been created, but when it comes to convicting a doctor and sending him to prison, in lieu of the circumstances, the law often breaks down and the charges are dismissed or the doctor is acquitted. In the case of the nineteen states which have not delineated the criminality of doctor-assisted suicide, the issue becomes less clear. Many of these states have a hard time grouping physician-assisted suicide with homicide. The case which Michigan judges cite in refusing this linkage of criminality is the People of the State of Michigan v. Campbell . In the Campbell case, the “court found that ‘the term suicide excludes by definition a homicide’” . Since, suicide is not a homicide, then an assisted suicide cannot be deemed a

homicide. At the time of the appellate courts hearing of the Campbell appeal, there was no other codified law expressing what crime an assisted suicide would fall under and the homicide charges were dismissed. Anti-active euthanasia proponents feel that it is the duty of physicians to help and heal patients as opposed to hastening their exit from this world. They also fear that the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide may be abused by doctors who do not feel that there is any hope for the patient and counsel them to terminate their life. The state also has an interest in the life of the individual. The individual state was originally set up to protect the rights of individuals and to see that “the value of an individual’s life…and the value of life to society as a

whole” is protected. The value of an individual’s life includes their personal well-being and safety from harm, even if it is self- inflicted. So, it has now become the duty of the individual states to balance the interests of the state against the interests of the individual patient in order to come up with a law which is accommodating to both. Persons who are for active euthanasia believe that legislation against it is “violative of the fundamental concepts of liberty, freedom of choice, and self-determination” They base these beliefs on the text of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. The voluntary choice between life and death is, to them, a basic human right which the government has no right to legislate. They often compare this choice of

euthanasia to the right to abortion. Judge Lynn Compton embodies these views in her opinion in the case of Bouvia v. Superior Court , “If there is a time when we ought to be able to get the government ‘off our backs’, it is when we face death-either by choice or otherwise” . The trend in the law seems rather obviously to be against the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. This is clear due to the thirty-one states which have already incorporated the act into their penal codes as being illegal. As to the other states, there is much controversy as to it’s legalization. Although in popular polls, the general public seems to be in favor of active euthanasia’s legalization, the courts in all of the states find that the possibility for infraction of the statute

supersedes the wishes of the patient. The courts aim to protect doctors from civil suits, patients from doctor’s advisory abuse, and the country’s general policy of the sanctity of life. In the courts view, passive and active euthanasia are two entirely different things. One involves the withholding or cessation of care which may or may not end up in death and the other involves a doctor’s administration of a lethal substance with the specific intent of impending death. In other words, one entails allowing death to occur without doctor intervention and the other is killing, albeit “mercy” killing. Based on my research, it seems clear that the effort to legalize active euthanasia is one that is not going to go away in the near future. This is especially due to the spread

of the AIDS virus and other incurable diseases. However, although I feel that it should be legalized with certain provisions, I cannot foresee it’s uniform, federal regulation in the near future, especially with a conservative Supreme Court as is sitting today. Presently, there are twenty-one states which allow citizen legislation through the use of the general election ballot. In these states, special interest groups which support active euthanasia have placed initiatives on the ballot. An example of one of these groups is the California based Americans for Death with Dignity or ADD . The DDA designed a statute, proposition 161, that would legalize doctor-assisted suicide. The statute was also created “with extraordinary care to provide all reasonable precaution to protect