The word “Euthanasia” originates from the Greek language and translated it means good “death”. Today, it is the act of ending another person’s life at their request, to minimize their suffering. There is much debate on whether this practice should be legal and the moral implications behind this choice. If you have the right to live, should you also have the right to choose how you die? Support for euthanasia has been dated back to the Ancient Greek and Roman cultures in 16th century. Today, only 42 percent of Americans support euthanasia and 22 percent are unsure (Ertelt, 2010). Back in the 1970’s, a movement known as the “Right to Die” Movement began to move towards legalizing euthanasia (Yount, 12). Currently legal assisted suicide is
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He became known as “Dr. Death” because he assisted over 130 assisted suicides in the 1990s. The negative attention surrounding Kervorkian in the 90s brought assisted suicide to attention of the country and did have an impact in Oregon. Oregon legalized the “Death with Dignity” act in 1997. Since 1997 over 700 patients have chosen to end their lives by taking the medication ("Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act", n.d., p. 2). Three other states in the United States now have legalized assisted suicide but the country has a long way to go before all terminally ill patients are given the same freedom of choice.
One of the main reason supporters of euthanasia give is that a person has the right to die with dignity. People should have control over not only their lives but also their deaths. Why should a patient be forced to live in pain if their present standard of living has degenerated beyond what they deem acceptable? For many with terminal illness the pain becomes unbearable and doctors can only assist in maintaining a manageable level of pain. If a person is of sound mind they should have the right to make the choice to die with dignity. Whether they prefer to continue on or die with peace they should have access to medical assistance to do so. Pain is not the only factor that may be a contributor; there are many that are unable to care for themselves as their illness progresses and they may also seek to die