Euthanasia in the United States Essay

2728 Words May 3rd, 2013 11 Pages
Euthanasia for the Elderly in the United States
Hannah Pate

An issue facing much of today’s elderly and terminally ill populations is that of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Several countries, most notably the Netherlands, has legalized euthanasia and physician assisted suicide leading to what is now referred to as “death tourism”. People from across the world are traveling to place with legalized euthanasia, like the Netherlands, in order to end their lives through assisted suicide. Some political groups are now proposing that there should be a “right to die” so that those who are experiencing a painful terminal illness or debilitating condition could chose to end their life with assistance from a physician. In the past
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The legislature of New York state drafted and put into law a criminal code that explicitly illegalized assisting in someone’s suicide by “furnish[ing] another person with any deadly weapon or poisonous drug, knowing that such person intends to use such weapon or drug in taking his own life” [5].
In 1906 and 1907 the Ohio and Iowa received petitions to legalize active euthanasia. [6] Both proposals failed. In 1939 a group called the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA) began its first attempt to legalize euthanasia in the United States. This attempt, and many consecutive endeavors, failed. A possible contribution to the failure of the 1939 attempt and the following efforts was the start of Nazi Germany’s involuntary euthanasia of the mentally and physically disabled. This involuntary euthanasia initiative’s purpose of eliminating "life unworthy of life" soured many subsequent attempts to legalize voluntary active euthanasia. By 1967, massive educational campaigns had changed the public perception of euthanasia enough to enable living wills, or advance health care directives, to be legally accepted. Living wills were then able to allow people to request to be taken off life support, a form of passive euthanasia, after becoming incapacitated and unable to articulate that request.
The first euthanasia measure was

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