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Euthanasia

Victoria Makepeace

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introduction page 2


why make the appeal?

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Case Studies

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

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Diane Pretty

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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

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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.


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Jack Kervorkian


Case Studies

On April 15, 1989, a British 17 year old

This was a major turning point in football

Anthony Bland was a supporter of Liverpool

ground development.

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.

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Bland died on March 3rd, 1993.


Tony Bland

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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.

for

against

1 2

1

. 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.

3

. 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.

4

. Well it IS a criminal offence in a lot of places. Whether that should be the case is debatable!

5

.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.

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. 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.

2

. 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.


Opinion

“Every person has the right to decide for themselves whether they should live or die.

It is a personal decision�

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Religions

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.

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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 ‘doing no harm’. Quite a complex situation.


Quotes

“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

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key terms and definitions

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Euthanasia