Euthanasia: The Right to Die


Thesis: Euthanasia should be legalized so, if we ever have a
loved one that is suffering and death is certain,
that we have the choice to ease their pain if they
want.

I. Introduction

A. Examples showing why euthanasia is
receiving national attention.

B. A summary of reasons offered by those opposed
to euthanasia is given.

C. A summary of reasons offered by those in favor
of euthanasia is given.

D. Transition into my argument.

II. Body

A. A person has the right to die with dignity.

B. Everything should not be done to prolong life
if the patient does not want it.

C. Doctors are not always responsible to do
everything they can to save somebody.

D. Refute the argument that euthanasia is
unethical.

III. Conclusion

A. Thoughts on freedom people have.

B. A quote to end with.

"A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to
sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well
as useless to resist."
-Steward Alsop, Stay of Execution


Euthanasia has become an issue of increasing attention
because of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted suicides. As of
October 21 Kevorkian has assisted in nineteen suicides.
Because of the increasing number of suicides in Michigan,
Gov. Engler signed an anti-suicide law in late February that
made doctor-assisted suicides a felony. During the 21-month
trial period of the new law anyone assisting in a suicide
can be sentenced to up to four years in prison and fined
more than $2,000 (Reuters, 1993).
With the passing of this law I thought that most people
would be against the right-to-die, not so. In a poll cited
in a 1991 issue of USA Today eighty percent of Americans
think sometimes there are circumstances when a patient
should be allowed to die, compared to only fifteen percent
think doctors and nurses should always do everything
possible to save a person's life. It also showed that eight
in ten adults approve of state laws that allow medical care
for the terminally ill to be removed or withheld, if that is
what the patient "wishes", whereas only thirteen percent
disapproved of the laws. Also seventy percent think the
family should be allowed to make the decision about
treatment on behalf of the patient, while another five
percent think this is suitable only in some cases (Colasnto,
1991, p. 62).
The results on mercy killing surprised me even more.
Seventy percent think it is justified at least sometimes for
a person to kill his or her spouse, if he or she is
suffering terrible pain caused by a terminal illness. Even
suicide is starting to be accepted. About half the public
think a "moral right" to suicide exists if a person has an
incurable disease or is suffering great pain with no hope of
recovering(Colasnto, 1991, p. 63).
About half of those with living parents think their
mothers and fathers would want medical treatment stopped if
they were suffering a great deal of pain in a terminal
disease or if they became totally dependant on a family
member, and forty percent of their parents would want
medical treatment stopped if daily activities became a
burden(Colasnto,1991, p. 63).
With the continuous coverage of Dr. Kevorkian the views
of people will continue to change. Euthanasia will continue
to become more of an issue.
As with any issue, each viewpoint is supported by many
reasons. Those who oppose euthanasia argue that the medical
profession must always be on the side of "preserving life"
(Schofield, 1988, p. 24). Another reason is euthanasia will
lead to the "devaluation of life" (Low, 1989, p. 37). Also
they think it will force doctors and family members to
"judge the value of a patient's life". Critics also say
that acceptance will spread from the terminally ill to the
less serious ill, the handicapped, or the mentally retarded.
(Russ, 1989, p. 117)
One reason that just about everyone who favors
euthanasia agrees with is that a person has the right to a
death with dignity. Another reason is a person should be
allowed a "natural death" instead of a prolonged death with
medical equipment(Battin, 1985, p. 19). Still another reason
is that doctors are supposed to ease the pain of people not
prolong it (Battin, 1989, p. 19).
Death is one of the few things that all people have in
common. This means that there is a chance for anyone to
face the decision of letting someone go. Euthanasia should
be legalized so people will only have to think about the
difficult decision of the present and not about the
consequences of