YouthInAsia (Euthanasia); Not Just Little Kids in the Far East


Think about a senior citizen being told by their doctor that they only have a month to live and the road to the end will be one filled with pain, progressively getting worse. Sadly, this is not an out-of-the-ordinary situation in society today. Euthanasia refers to intentionally ending another person’s life to relieve pain and suffering. Voluntary euthanasia and physician’s assisted suicide has been a controversial issue not only in the United States, but internationally. Assisted suicide is when a patient takes an active last step in their death by choosing to not have to suffer through their illness. At this point, a lethal medicine is usually administered and the patient ends their life in a painless manner. Theoretically, this makes perfect sense. It is a person’s natural right as a human to choose what they do with their body, whether that be an abortion (we will save that argument for another time) or suicide. By religious standards, suicide is the ultimate sin so it makes sense that advocates and strict followers get upset at the idea.

When one is witnessing a family member suffer from pain on their deathbed, nothing would make everyone happier than to let them go in the most peaceful of ways. However, when your government tells you that it is illegal for you to fulfill a dying man’s last wish because it is against the law, this is the point where Euthanasia activists come out of hiding to shed their light on the situation. Most argue that we have individual rights as a human race that cannot and should not be violated or infringed upon by a government. Life, to them (and me), is the ultimate right that we are entitled to. No one can give us that power so ideally, no one should be allowed to take it away.

In England, Bridget Gilderdale (age 55) helped her daughter, Lynn (age 31), commit assisted suicide by giving her a lethal cocktail of drugs. Lynn suffered from myalgic encephalomyelitis which caused her severe pain and the inability to eat (except through a tube). There was evidence that she tried to commit suicide multiple times throughout her suffering but her mother could no longer bare it, so she finally decided to help her. Bridget was arrested for attempted murder following the death of her daughter. At this point, the issue of how much control the government should have in our lives is brought up.

[Briget Gilderdale and other’s stories regarding Euthanasia can be found at

<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/world/europe/18britain.html?ref=euthanasia&gt;

AND

<http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1807401,00.html&gt;

In discussion, we talked about Rosseau’s ideologies about the state of nature. What he said was that humans give up their natural rights and freedoms to become a citizen under a governingparty. This government offers support throughpublic goods that all citizens benefit from. All of us in America have sacrificed some natural rights so that we could be underneath the umbrella of a major governing party. As mentioned earlier, our number one right is to life and what we choose to do with that life. Is it right for the government to infringe on these rights? Should voluntary Euthanasia and physician’s assisted suicide be legal? Is it worth giving up our state of nature to join a government that takes away our number one right as humans? Let me know what you think…

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4 Comments on “YouthInAsia (Euthanasia); Not Just Little Kids in the Far East”

  1. elmatts25 Says:

    I understand the application of this issue to the state of nature, but I don’t think that the natural rights of individuals would include the right of life. I believe it is possible to live in a cooperative society without giving up one’s right to life. Therefore, I think it is completely unjust and inappropriate for a the government to infringe on our right to life. There are some rights that are appropriate for the government to influence, and more in line with the state of nature, there are some rights that should and will be manipulated to maintain order in a society. The terms for which rights are subject to government or societal influence have been outlined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
    The issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide is not applicable to one’s right to life. Even though I believe that suicide is included in the right to life, euthanasia and assisted suicide imply the involvement of an additional person. People do not have the right to end someone else’s life, that is considered murder. Admittedly, the definition of murder is debatable for issues like abortion and the death penalty, however assisted suicide, in my opinion is a different matter. Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide should be illegal. If one chooses to commit suicide, that is their choice. They should not have to or be able to solicit the aid of an additional person.

    • goldman13 Says:

      I have to say that i disagree with the above comment. As supported by Rousseau, natural rights extend far beyond speech, property, etc. As citizens of a government, we enter a social contract with authoritative powers in which we sacrifice some rights. We can’t yell fire in a move theater (if there is no fire, of course), we can’t hire (or not hire) people based on religion, we can’t steal other people’s possessions. None of these limits, however, should infringe upon our right to life. While we agree on that point, you go on to say “The issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide is not applicable to one’s right to life.” Take property, for example. We can agree that as civilians, we have a right to our own property. THEREFORE, the opposite is also true; we also have a right to not lose our property. Likewise, we have the right to relinquish our property if you want to. Life is mankind’s most treasured property, and if someone wants to give it up, then they should be able to.

      The situation becomes sticky when this said person (the one who wants to give up his life) needs help to do so. If someone is in a conscious, clear state of mind, and has been deemed mentally sound by medical professionals, and STILL wants to die, then there is no reason for that person to be denied his/her right to give up his property. The movie El Mar Adentro (spanish, awesome film) addresses this issue and reveals the immense pain and suffering that some patients endure because they are prohibited from ending their own lives. These patients have come to terms with their situations, have suffered to no end or avail, and are trying to embrace death. Denying their wishes is a denial of their basic rights.

      On a side note, governments (including the United States government) have enacted certain motions through which euthanasia can occur. DNR forms (Do Not Resuscitate) are used to ensure a terminally ill patient that if his/her heart stops, medical professionals are legally not allowed to restart it using artificial methods. They are justifiably being given their right to die. There is no reason why other people shouldn’t be given this right as well

  2. maddycaroline Says:

    The right to life may not be a natural right according to Rousseau, but I do believe it is a right we are born with. However, I do not think that ‘life’ necessarily deals with the physical act of living or dying, but rather being able to live that life in the way one desires. The only thing guaranteed in life, is death; it is the end to all means and inevitable in the human world. Therefore the right to life, in the way you are using it, is not possible. That is not to say, however, that people should not have the right to make their own decisions but when it comes to those who can no longer make those decisions…what do you do?

    People should have the right to make their own decisions about their lives, because it is their life and no one else can be in the exact same situation. In the case of physician-assisted suicide, this same issue applies. For those who think that euthanasia should be illegal…what about those who sign a DNR or families who take their loved ones off life support…should those be considered illegal too? Aren’t those basically the same thing as having a doctor assist in your suicide? In this sense, DNR is basically the same thing because you are choosing to end your life (if a situation in which you need to be resuscitated occurs) even if their is a chance of you living past that point. Certain medical conditions are so severe that it causes one everyday pain and suffering, and in some cases there is no chance of improvement. When it comes to conditions such as these, is life really worth living at that point? As in the post written above mine, those who are not allowed to end their own lives suffer even more and are forced to survive, but not really live. This is why I believe that euthanasia should be legalized. It is their own choice to end their lives, and that choice should be respected. It is not murder if you need help with this, because it is your own choice. They need to solicit the aid of another because they do not have the means or are not physically able to do it themselves. Individuals who have come to this point in life know they will die, and again as written above, are ready for death.

    Euthanasia is not in any sense murder, neither is it an infringement on a person’s natural born rights. If their (medical) suffering is so great that they want to end their lives and they made this decision themselves, then so it should be.

  3. Karsten Smolinski Says:

    I think that euthanasia should definitely be made legal. I’m not exactly sure where the government gets off trying to tell people that they have to stay alive even when they don’t want to be. If someone is very sick and suffering and going to die soon anyway I definitely feel that the person has the right to choose to end their own life.
    To be honest I don’t understand what good the government thinks it is doing by keeping these people alive. I just doesn’t make sense. If someone is going to die anyway, they are suffering, and they want to die, why would it possibly be a good thing to prolong that person’s suffering with modern medical technology?
    Even in a situation like that from the movie Million Dollar Baby, where the protagonist, played by Hillary Swank, still had full mental function and could stay alive for a long time hooked up to the machines I think that a person has the right to choose death. The main character, played by Clint Eastwood, did the right thing when he helped her end it.

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