introduction page 2
why make the appeal?
Diane Pretty was a 42 year old woman from
illegal in the United Kingdom. Diane Pretty
Luton who had Motor Neurone Disease
took her case to the highest court in the land.
(MND). She became known to the general
She did this by using the Human Rights Act.
public after being the subject of a debate about the laws of euthanasia in the United
She tried to argue that the Director of Public
Kingdom. She tried to bring about a change
Prosecutions should not prosecute anyone
in the laws of the U.K in an effort to end her
involved in helping her to die, in particular her
own life. She did this because she wanted
husband. The Director of Public Prosecutions
to bring an end to the pain and physical
refused this. Unfortunately for Diane, the
problems she had suffered from.
British courts did not accept this argument, and Mrs Pretty lost the legal battle.
However, she was actually too disabled to commit suicide. This meant that she would
However, 3 days after the ruling Diane Pretty
need assistance from her husband to end her
lost her life.
life. This is classed as assisted suicide, which is
Case Studies Doctor Jack Kervorkian was a pathologist
release drugs or chemicals into the body by
who was quite well known for his work
pushing a button that would eventually bring
in the 1990s in helping to create ways of
to an end the patient’s life.
ending the lives of the terminaly ill patients by the use of physician-assisted suicide.
Throughout his career he claimed to
He is also known throughout the world, as
have assisted in the suicides of at least 130
someone who has voiced his opinion on the
terminally ill people. He famously said,
worldwide subject of assisted suicide.
“dying is not a crime”, a phrase that has become recognised throughout the world by
He initially began his assisted-suicide
people considering euthanasia.
campaign in the early 1990’s. One of the
most recognisable cases was that of an
An American Jury in Michigan, found Dr
Alzheimer’s patient who wanted to kill
Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder.
herself. She did this by obtaining the use
As a result, he was sentenced, and he served
of the ‘suicide machine’. He used these
eight years in prison of the 10 to 25 years
homemade suicide machines (Mercitron and
he was awarded. Eventually on June 1, 2007,
‘Thanatron)’ to end terminal ill people’s lives.
Dr Kevorkian was released on parole, but this
Kevorkian invented the thanatron which was
was strictly on the condition that he would
a device that would allow an individual to
not offer suicide advice to any other person.
On April 15, 1989, a British 17 year old
This was a major turning point in football
Anthony Bland was a supporter of Liverpool
Football Club. One Saturday afternoon, while supporting his beloved team, he was
Anthony was not the only person injured
badly injured as a result of being caught up
during this tragic situation, as well as the
in the Hillsborough disaster.
95 who died, many have been left with life changing injuries. As a result of endless
Due to the effect of crush injuries, he
campaigning by his family, Anthony became
unfortunately suffered severe brain damaged.
the first patient in English legal history to be
This damage was so extensive, that left him
allowed to die by the court.
in a persistent vegetative state. He along with a further 95 footballer supporters were crushed while they were entering an already overcrowded stand at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield.
Bland died on March 3rd, 1993.
Public Opinions I did a quick survey on Yahoo! Answers to find out people’s opinions on Euthanasia. I have chosen the answers which demostrate best the questions that I have asked.
. I am mainly for euthanasia, although I do think that it’s potentially problematic.
. If a person is suffering emotionally (but isn’t suffering physically) in most cases that person will have the option of committing suicide should they want to do so. If it’s the other way round (ie. they’re physically incapable of committing suicide) they don’t have that option. I think that, although it is sad that anyone would want to commit suicide, if they are in a lot of pain, they should have the option of dying.
. Well, I haven’t expressed views against euthanasia so no. I think that some people who are anti-euthanasia would change their minds if they were in a lot of pain.
. Well it IS a criminal offence in a lot of places. Whether that should be the case is debatable!
.Yes, but there would need to be stringent regulations in place to make sure that the person actually wanted to die or to make sure that it was what was ‘best for that person’. This would be tricky in cases of non-voluntary euthanasia, of course. The matter would have to be handled carefully, each case treated individually.
. I am against euthanasia. I believe that it could very easily be abused, consent could be fabricated, and it is just a much easier way to commit murder and then get paid by insurance to do it.
. My feelings are somewhat ambiguous towards it. I am against it for the possible egregious abuses but I understand why someone might want to end their life. I think removing life support is sufficient though.
â€œEvery person has the right to decide for themselves whether they should live or die.
It is a personal decisionâ€?
Most religions disapprove of euthanasia, because they believe that life is given by God and God alone should decide when
Some religions have a complicated view when it comes to euthanasia.
to end it. But, possibly in ninety years time,
For example, the people around the world
other religious beliefs may change.
who follow Hinduism. Hindus have many
The world is a much smaller place, people travel a lot more than they ever did, social media and the power of television is bringing other viewpoints into their society which they would never have imagined. Regardless whatever religions an individual may follow, the feeling of despair is felt by all when they see the loved one suffering.
different points of view, they may approve of euthanasia in theory, to help others to end a painful life, but ultimately they disapprove. This is because it can not be allowed as it breaches the teaching of Ahmisa which actually means â€˜doing no harmâ€™. Quite a complex situation.
“My aim in helping the patient was not to cause death. My aim was to end suffering. It’s got to be decriminalized.” Dr. Jack Kevorkian
key terms and definitions