Assisted Suicide

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Assisted Suicide

Table of Contents



History of Euthanasia1

Ethical Perspective2

Ethical Issue Associated with Assisted Suicide3

Legal Issues Associated with Assisted Suicide3

Alternatives to Euthanasia4

The Element of Autonomy in Assisted Suicide5

Moral Theory and Ethical Principles6

Interviews of Experts7



Assisted suicide has been around for many years. The occurrence of assisted suicide dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Assisted suicide is a condition in which a terminally ill patient is killed because of mental and physical pain. In the current society, assisted suicide or euthanasia is a controversial subjective. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are debatable subjects because of the opposing views associated with them. Virtually, the term euthanasia has replaced the term assisted suicide. Individuals who are pro euthanasia believe that terminally ill people have the right to seek the help of others for killing them. The main issue surrounding euthanasia is that whether a person has a right to assist other in dying or no. The euthanasia or assisted suicide is opposed by different groups including religious groups and medical associations. Religious groups oppose freedom of choice in death and medical associations oppose it because they are dedicated to save and extend lives (Luc Deliens et al., 2008).


History of Euthanasia

In order to understand euthanasia, it is important to understand the history of the issue. The history of assisted suicide or euthanasia will help in understanding many ethical issues with the topic. Assisted suicide has been a significant concern since Ancient Greek and Roman Times (Westendorf, 2008). A majority of Spartans and Athenians believe that in order to stay fit, individuals who were ill and elderly must have the right to end their lives.

The early modern discussions of euthanasia include the idea of Sir Thomas More's idea who believed that in a Utopian society should be relieved. In the 17th century, Francis Bacon argued that the role of a physician is just not to restore health but also to alleviate pain. In the 19th century, several advancements occurred in medicine; one of which was the discovery of anesthesia. The other inventions were morphine, ether, and chloroform. All these methods were used by doctors and physicians in order to relieve pain. The physicians started to believe that anesthesia must be used to relieve the pain. With the outbreak of the World War II and discovery of Nazi death camps, the movement gained momentum. The German Euthanasia Program started two years before the outbreak of the war. The program started as a way to get rid of non-Aryans and purify the German race through involuntary euthanasia. At that time, the term used for the process was mercy killing. The purpose of mercy killing, at that time, was to get rid of unfit children. Within the last decade, a number of countries in the world are witnessing movement for the legislations against and for the movement (Westendorf, 2008).

Ethical Perspective

Individuals who oppose euthanasia believe that it is ethically wrong to allow people to kill them. It is also believed that individuals often ask for assisted suicide because they are under depression ...
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