Why has the right to die initiated such a vigorous debate among philosophers, lawyers and doctors? The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution states "No State shell deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law."  However, how does one define life? Even more so, how do we define a life worth living? Does the right to privacy give the individual freedom to choose even on issues concerning the termination of his own life? Or does the state have the right to interfere with person's choice to terminate his life if it is in the best interest of the society? This paper will try to address the issues stated above by taking into consideration arguments of both sides, pro and against the right to euthanasia.
2.1 Nancy Cruzan's Case shapes History
The case of Nancy Cruzan is now part of the history of the US Constitution for it arose the most extensive debate so far in terms of the right to die. After her car accident at the age of twenty four, she was left in coma and in what doctors describe as permanent vegetable state.  Having no hope for their daughter's improvement in future, her parents petitioned the court asking to grant the hospital authorization to terminate artificial nutrition. Although the State court granted the permission, the Supreme court of the US reversed the decision on the grounds of insufficient evidence that Nancy would refuse a life as a vegetable, as well as on the argument that the state must do everything in its power to preserve life. 
2.2 Right of Privacy at Stake
Prior to the accident Nancy has told her friend that in case she was left in a state where there was no hope for her improvement, she would rather not live at all. However, the Supreme Court found this not to be a convincing evidence of Nancy's wish not to be subjected to a medical treatment. It further stated that a "clear and convincing evidence" would take the form of a Living Will, which would state the opinion of the individual regarding medical treatment in case they were left incompetent. However, as one judge noted, "even someone with a resolute determination to avoid life support under circumstances as Nancy's would still need to know that such things as living wills exist and how to execute one."  Furthermore, it is very relative if people who live what might be considered a quality life would abide to the writing of such document, since the thought itself of one day becoming an incompetent person in a vegetable state might be horrible for many.
By presenting this argument the court recognizes the right of competent people to accept or refuse medical treatment. However, we must ask ourselves if incompetent people still have that right as if they were competent, and if not, can someone else, including the state, decide for them? We must ask ourselves if the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment permitted Cruzan's parents to refuse life-sustaining treatment on their vegetated daughter's behalf? [4=oyez]
In the case of Nancy Cruzan, there was evidence that Nancy would have rather wanted to die than be kept alive as a vegetable. However, the court found this evidence insufficient to definitely prove her wish to refuse medical treatment. On the other hand, the court never asked for a proof that Nancy would rather be kept alive. Even if it did, there was no such evidence. On the contrary, the opposite side was much stronger. Furthermore, the court violated Cruzan's privacy right to determine her own fate by refusing to accept her own words while still competent as liable to express her wishes and determine her destiny. Even though the court held that competent individuals enjoyed the right to refuse medical treatment, it clearly denied Nancy Cruzan that right since she made that choice prior to the accident that left her a comatose. Her right to privacy, in terms of making a choice, has obviously been lost somewhere in the...
...The phrase “The right to die” means the ethical or institutional entitlement of the individual to commit suicide or to undergo voluntary euthanasia.( Right to die, - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 6 April 2012) It is one of the topics that has been debated over centuries. It starts from the 1950s, which arise from a small group of thinkers and writers in the United States and Europe, they began to argue about the choice that allows the patients to end their life by themselves in the case of surviving with those life support, in the case of the terminally ill, and many more. The acceptance of these arguments expand in the 1960s as the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution and other social movements helped to expand notions of personal freedom. While In the 1970s, this “right to die “has became an issue in the national stage due to the highly publicized 1975 case of Karen Ann Quinlan, who is a 21 year old woman that had fallen into a coma and she is unable to survive without the help of an artificial respirator. In this case Quinlan's family wants to remove her life support but it is thwarted by her doctor, leading to a lawsuit and a ruling by the Supreme Court that patients and by extension their families, they have a right to remove her life support. (Wired 2012) As “the right to die” has became an issue in the world,...
The Right to Die
In today’s society, the rapid and dramatic development of medicine and technology has allowed us to save more lives than was ever possible in the past. Medicine enabled us the means to cure or to reduce the suffering of people afflicted with diseases that were once fatal or painful. At the same time, however, medical technology has given us the power to sustain the lives (or, some would say, prolong the deaths) of patients whose physical and mental capabilities cannot be restored, whose degenerating conditions cannot be reversed, and whose pain cannot be eliminated. As medicine struggles to pull more and more people away from the edge of death, the plea that tortured, deteriorated lives be mercifully ended grows louder and more frequent. Euthanasia has become a provocative subject because of its past, present and future status among todays families.
Euthanasia is a controversial topic, not only because there are many moral delemmas associated with it, also in what it constitutes its definition. At the extreme ends of disagreement, some schools of thoughts aid in dying, is a merciful act of dying and at the other end, there are opponent of euthanasia who believe that this method is a form of murder. The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek word ‘eu’ meaning “good” and ‘thanatos’ means death.
"In ancient Greece and Rome, before the coming of Christianity, attitudes toward infanticide, active...
...The Right To Die
Imagine that you have come down with a disease and you have just been told that there is no cure. There in your hospital bed all you can think about is the pain and the agony you are going to have to endure for the rest of your remaining life. I for one know that I do not want to spend my last times on this earth in pain and discomfort, knowing that I will never walk again, or feed myself, or maybe ever even come back to consciousness. For years, doctors have been prohibited from helping patients to take their own lives. I believe that a terminally ill patient should have the right to decide if they have had enough. By legalizing euthanasia, also referred to as physician assisted suicide, tremendous pain and suffering of patients can be saved. The right to die should be a fundamental freedom to each person. Patients should have to right to die with their dignity intact rather than have their illness leave them as merely a shell of their former selves. These are just a few of the reasons as to why every individual should have the right to die if they are terminally ill.
Numerous ailments such as certain types of cancer result in a slow, agonizing death. Doctors have enough knowledge and experience to know when a patient's days are numbered. What purpose would it serve to suffer endlessly until the body finally gives out?...
...The Right to Die Modern medical technology has made it possible to extend the lives of many far beyond when they would have died in the past. Death, in modern times, often ensures a long and painful fall where one loses control both physically and emotionally. Some individuals embrace the time that modern technology buys them; while others find the loss of control overwhelming and frightening. They want their loved ones to remember them as they were not as they have become. Some even elect death to avoid burdens of lingering on. They also seek assistance in doing so from medicine. The demands for assisted suicide and euthanasia are increasing (Kass 17). These issues raise many questions, legal and ethical. Although neither assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal, many people believe they should be. A great number of those people may never be faced with the decision, but knowing the option would be there is a comfort (Jaret 46). For those who will encounter the situation of loved ones on medication, being treated by physicians, sometimes relying on technical means to stay alive arises a great moral conflict. I wish to explore this topic on ethical, not legal issues. Do people have a right to choose death? More in particular, are euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide morally legitimate? Euthanasia involves a death that is intended to benefit the person who dies, and requires a final act by some other person, for example, a...
...laws”(294). If cutting trees from their course is allowed for human benefits, then there is no reason why changing my own natural course for my benefit is a crime. Some argues that human life is important and that only God has the right to deal with. If that is true, then dodging the massive branch from the tree that I have just cut from falling on my head should also be a crime because I went against the order of nature by extending my life. Hence, “a hair, a fly, an insect is able to destroy this mighty whose life is of such important”(294). Moreover, if God owns my life and it is my duty to protect it, then there is no one so called hero. He is indeed a criminal for putting an end to a life that does not belong to him. Furthermore, according to Hume (1874-1875), “I owe my birth to a long chain of causes, of which many depended upon voluntary actions of men”(296). If this chain of causes is among God’s plan then, my death should be too. It is blasphemous to even think that I can do anything without God’s agreement. In addition, after my death, I have not leave the post where God has placed me; every tissues and muscles of my lifeless body are still performing their wonder duty. Consequently, Hume (1874-1875) I thank God for the gift of life and the gift of the right to put an end to my misery life (295). Hume also argues that suicide is not a breach of duty to the society. People who suicide are usually in some situation that instead of doing...
...The Right to Die
Mr. Tang Siu Pun, who was nicknamed “Ah Pun”, was once a gymnast. Unfortunately, he had become paralyzed after the accident during his gymnastics display in 1991. After getting injured, he had once sent a letter to the Former Chief Executive, Tung Chee Hwa, asking for legalizing euthanasia. His act had successfully aroused Hong Kong people’s concern. Life, not only especially Tang’s, is tough for those suffering from terminally illness, but euthanasia is a way to save them from the living hell.
Death, for those who are against legalizing euthanasia, means the end of a life, and the total and permanent cessation of all vital functions of an organism (Dictionary.com, 2013). However, for us, who support euthanasia, have a different understanding. When life is suffering and pain, death is the solution and measure for a better life. There three major groups of people who ask for euthanasia, those who are asking for ending the pain that they have suffered, people ask for happiness and people ask for human rights.
Euthanasia, which is also called mercy or assisted killing, is a measure for patients to stop the suffering. Cancer patients and other patients who unfortunately get long-term diseases, or like Tang, becoming paralyzed, have to take many different surgery and therapies, for example chemotherapy, radiotherapy and electrotherapy. From all the medical personnel, we know that cancer or other...
...The Right to Die
(BUSI - 3005 - 1)
Dr. Jerry Griffin
July 14, 2013
CLEAR STATEMENT OF ARGUMENT
The right to die should be legal. Being forced to live a life that is unbearable is a violation of that person’s right to live and die as they see fit. Many countries permit euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. Euthanasia “can quickly and humanly end a patient’s suffering allowing them to die with dignity” (rsrevision.com, 2011) The quality of life is the main issue surrounding the right to die. The cost to keep a terminally ill person alive is very expensive. This can be a burden on the family.
PREMISE OF ARGUMENT
People with terminal illnesses have unbearable pain and suffering. Large medical bills are accumulated when terminally ill patients go in-and-out of the hospital to try and ease their suffering. Thus, increasing economic affliction for the surviving family.
CONCLUSION SHOULD BE
Therefore, we should legalize the right to die for those suffering of terminal illness due to the cost, pain, and suffering.
THE RIGHT TO DIE: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Blocher, Mark. The Right to Die? Caring Alternatives to Euthanasia. Chicago: Moody, 1999.
Though the "death with...
Right to Die
September 16, 2013
Right to Die
When an individual decides that he or she no long want to live because of death soon to be or a serious illness some states will allow the right to die. The right to die does not mean they will just give up on life and passed but is assisted in some way, which could be assistance from a doctor. Throughout this essay I will cover what the right to die means, what states allow and do not allow and what is used to assist in the right to die.
Have you ever just felt like you wanted to die? All because you were just too tired, you broke up with your significant other or you are just too stressed to continue. Individuals dying of cancer, or are terminally ill some are scared to die whereas others just wish it was over so they were not in any more pain. I have chosen the “Right to Die” topic. My reasoning for choosing this topic is for two reasons: First I have always found this topic to be fairly interesting, and know of it but not a lot. Second I am a person who is scared of death so I am hoping that it will give me a little more understanding as to why someone would want this for his or herself.
States that Allow Right to Die