Euthanasia: Supreme Court of the United States

Thesis: Euthanasia, and a common form of euthanasia, assisted suicide, should be eel gal processes through which terminally ill individual may voluntarily end his or her own life. Summary: As of 2009, assisted suicide was legal in only three states: Oregon, Washing stone, and Montana. Since description in those states, assisted suicide has proven to be an effective, but rarely employed means of allowing a terminally person to end h is or her life in a dignified manner.

Though the United States federal government has opposed measures Tenneco federal legislation that would legalize euthanasia and as sites suicide, the time has come for the federal governmental the remainder of the e states to recognize that, inherent in the right to live freely is the right to decide whew n to humanely one’s life. Introduction To understand the debate surrounding euthanasia, one must first understand theta NASA and its related variations.

Theater euthanasia, taken from the Greek word for ” easy death,” refers to the process by which a physician prescribes intermediateness a f total dose of drugs to a terminally ill individual in a controlled medical environment, t hush causing their death Nina quick and painless manner. Euthanasia is commonly refer red to as physician- assisted suicide. Assisted suicide, a reallocated of euthanasia, describes the process by which a physician or pharmacist only prescribes the fatal drugs, leaving therein ally ill individual to ingest the drugs on their own, at a time of their choosing.

As of 20 09, physician- assisted suicides not legal in any state in America, while assisted suicide was legal in three states. The Federal Government ; the Courts A quartet of United States Supreme Court cases (Washington v. Gloucester, Vocal v. Quill, Gonzales v. Oregon, and Caravan. Director, Missouri Department of Health) have helped to shape the legal landscape in the debate over euthanasia and individual Xi’s right to refuse medical treatment.

In Gloucester and Vocal, companion cases decide deed in 1997, the Supremacist ruled that states have the authority to prohibit assist De suicide and against the notion that the right to die guaranteed in the Constitution n. More recently, in the 2006 Gonzales case, the Court held in a 6-3 opinion that the U intimidates attorney general could not enforce a drug law, the Controlled Substances Act, against physicians and pharmacists as means of punishing them for prescribes g fatal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients.

Finally, in the Curran case, thesaurus e Court upheld the right of competent persons to refuse medical treatment, but ruled that clear and condescendingly must exist of that person’s desire to limit the life- saving measures to be performed on them. The practical impact of these rulings is that, because the federal government cannot prosecute physicians and pharmacists prescribe drugs to terminally ill patients, t he debate over euthanasia and assisted suicide in the US has primarily attackable o n the state level.

Furthermore, while individuals have the constitutional right to prove Euthanasia: Supreme Court of the United States By metatheses saving measures in the event of their incapacitation, they must make clear their desire e, usually through a living will or a donor resuscitate order. Success at the State Level In 1994, Oregon became the first state to pass an assisted suicide law. The Oregon De oath with Dignity Act has served as model statute in other states’ attempts to pass as sister suicide legislation.

The act has several important provisions that, retrograde, provide safeguards for the terminally ill, the physicians that diagnose their terminal I illnesses, and the pharmacist’s prescribe lethal drugs. The act requires first, that a tenant be diagnosed by a physician as having a terminal illness that’ll end the Patti net’s life within six months. Then, upon the patient’s request, a physician or pharmacy SST that has no moral repossession objection to assisted suicide will prescribe a lethal I dose of drugs that the patient can ingest at a time of trichinosis.

Notably, the act has several safeguards, among them a requirement that the patient’s initial request f or prescription be witnessed by two people; that a second physician concur in the in tail diagnosis of a terminal illness giving patient no more than six months to live; conclusion that the patient is of sound mind; and a waiting period underwrite the patient must wait fifteen days before making a second, and final, oral request for the lethal prescription.

These rules and safeguards ensure that only those who are both terminally ill and of a sound mind are able to obtain a letterhead of drugs after having made a voluntary and informed decision. Additionally, and importantly, the act does not requirements p Hessians or pharmacists opposed to assisted suicide to participate in, sanction, or Pl ay any role in bringing about death of a terminally ill person. The Washington Initiative 1000, passed by voters in 2008, was based on the Oregon a CT and, consequently, histrionically similar in its provisions and safeguards.

Most recently, in December, 2008, a Montana trial court Judge ruled disenchantment, termini ally ill patients have the right to self- administer lethal doses of drugs prescribed by a physician, thought decision has been appealed to the Montana Supreme Court. Because assisted suicide in Washington and Montana is relatively new, Oregon is the only state in which data concerning these of lethal drugs by the terminally ill has be en compiled. In the eight- year period from 1998 to 2006, 455 ultraconservatives were written for terminally ill I individuals, and 292 of those individuals used that prescription to commit suicide.

Ana lists of this data indicates that only around thirty- five terminally ill individuals die each year in Oregon as a result of tightfisted suicide e law. This data further suggests that physicians are carefully screening applicants, is suing on average nullify- seven prescriptions per year. Finally, it is also clear that applicants carefully weigh the e decision to use the by the fact that 35 percent of prescriptions sued to terminally ill patients” who have satisfied the neurotransmitters under Oregano’s Death with Dignity Act ”went unused.

International Law Oregon, Washington, and Montana are not the only Jurisdictions in the world in which h forms of euthanasia are legal. Notably, assisted suicide, in some form, is legal in boot De suicide. Additionally, Germany has no law legalizing assisted suicide, but has not t rotationally openhandedness who have helped to end the life of a terminally ill person. As researchers have noted, however, death and suicide hyperventilated stigmas attaché to them depending on, among other factors, where one lives and the culture in hi chi one wassailed.

Consequently, it is not surprising that assisted suicide has been eel Galilee in certain parts of the world, while it remains crime elsewhere. In the United States, however, where an individual has always in been control of their mind, body, Ashland destiny, death and suicide do not have as negative a cultural connotation as they may have in other parts of the world. The Social, Ethical, Medical & Economic Reasons Assisted suicide places the individual in control of his or her future, allowing the India dual to decide how, when, and wherewith die.

While an issue of self- determination, there are practical concerns that face the dying. Often, a terminally ill preponderates their savings account plummet while his or her medical costs and ins Uranus premiums”assuming they are fortunateness to have medical insurance” skyrocket. If they do not have insurance, it is unlikely they are able to afford even the most basic medications to controverter pain or reduce their symptoms.

Though their disease is incurable, in the later stages of their illness, they often take up a hospital b d and meticulousness, as well as the time of doctors, nurses and other hospital SST oaf” time and health care dollars that could be expended on a person who can successful web treated and released. Friends and relatives watch their loved one suffer without r emend, knowing that the illness is fatal, but unable to do anything bestiality.

Assisted suicide provides a quick and painless death, in contrast to the expected moon this of suffering a terminally ill patient must endure under inarticulateness’s. The decision to end life on their own terms saves precious medical resources, ensures the t the patient’s family will not financially expressionlessly as a result of the illness, and allows the patient, and their family and friends, to say goodbye on their own term ms in a quick and painless way.

Notably, these arguments apply with equal force to p Hispanic- assisted suicide, wherein a physician not only monitors the patient to be sure they re incompetent, but also administers the drugs at a time of the patient’s choosing, the us helping to ensure that the patient’s death is quick and painless. Opposition to Euthanasia Opposition to euthanasia comes in part from religious and social organizations that g nearly oppose measures that result in the death of an individual. Sufferings are I ended understandable, and it is difficult to change a person’s moral convictions.

These e organizations are free to petition their elected officials onto champion their cause that right is fundamental to a democratic system. They also must, however, recognize the decisions made through a demonstrativeness, as those initiatives in Oregon and Washington, where the majority of voters approved assisted suicide. (It is worth noting g that some of these generalizations support the imposition of the death penalty f r certain crimes, citing the biblical passage “an eye for an eye. ” In other words, some table, but not when the individual himself seeks to end his life. Other opponents include some doctors and physicians, who have, as a condition of the Eire license to practice medicine or dispense prescription medication, taken Hippocratic tic Oath requiring that they do no harm to patients. Importantly, however, the assists d suicide laws that have passed in Washington and Oregon donor by any means require ire the participation of physicians or pharmacists. Consequently, those physicians or harmonicas with a moral, professional, or religiousopposition to assisted suicide nee d not participate in any way in the assisted suicide of a patient.

The same holds true for physician- assisted suicide which, in the countries where it is legal, is practiced voluntarily. Final y, some in the medical field express concern over whether the terminally ill are of so ND mind homogeneities to suicide. While this is a valid and serious concern, the law s passed in Oregon and Washington, requiring multiple examinations, medications Steen diagnoses, a waiting period, and a conclusion that the patient is of sound mind, river to dramatically lessen any possibility that an incompatibilities could be pres cribbed a fatal dose of drugs.

Choosing for Others, but not for Oneself The death penalty is an authorized form of punishment in the federal criminal Justice system, and also exists in well over half of the states. Through participation the Jury y system and by electing officials into office who are charged with enforcing the dead h penalty, citizens have a role in determining which individuals eligible for the De oath penalty and, more fundamentally, whether the death penalty as a form of punish .NET should persist, or should be repealed.

Similarly,the United States Supreme Coo art has ruled that pregnant women have the right to choose”in many circumstances whether to terminate their pregnancy. These examples demonstrate the contradiction that exists in forty- seven of the United States, under which average citizens are capable of playing a vita I role inducing whether other individuals live or die. These same citizens, though, ar e not entrusted with the same authority to make that decision when it comes toothier own lives in the extreme case of an incurable, terminal illness. Such a contradiction c not stand.

To preserve the dignity of human life, it is imperatives the remaining states and the federal government legalize euthanasia, whether in the form of physic assisted suicide or assisted suicide, to provide safe and dignified way for terminally individuals to end their suffering. With the advent of drugs that can both prolong and terminate life, as well as medical technology that can keep patients technically alive even in comatose or vegetative states, many questions have been raised about the quality of life each person deserves and identifying the fine line that demarcates the end of life.

In addition, in the United States”a country marked from its inception by the hallmarks of individuality and personal responsibility”citizens and lawmakers alike are wrestling with issues regarding the degree to which an individual or family member should be empowered to make personal, private decisions about whether to continue medical euthanasia debate have lobbied lawmakers to enact legislation in support of their views. The right to die movement is gaining support as a humane alternative to a poor quality of life maintained solely through continuous medical intervention.

Understanding the Discussion Euthanasia: The practice of ending a person’s life either through an intentional act or by withholding medical care. The action is performed without malice, but with the intention of alleviating suffering or ending the pain of a terminal illness or poor quality of life. Hospice: An alternative program of care for patients in the final stages of life, in which efforts are not designed to treat the patient’s underlying illness but rather to provide pain management, symptom control, and family support.

Informed consent: A patient’s expression of knowledge and acceptance of the risks, benefits, ND alternative treatment options of a medical procedure and subsequent permission to a physician to perform the procedure. Physician-assisted suicide: A procedure in which a physician deliberately and knowingly provides lethal drugs at the individual’s request for the purpose of self-administration. Right to die: A belief that individuals should have the authority to choose the time, place and manner of their death.

Terminal illness: A medical condition that is so advanced that treatment options are no longer available. History Although modern medical advancements and increased patient autonomy have ended public interest in the right to die, the practice of euthanasia has been in existence for centuries. Numerous Greek and Roman writings have revealed a belief that death, even if initiated by self or another person, was preferable to prolonged suffering. However, this belief was not universal.

The Hippocratic Oath, which medical practitioners in the United States have traditionally recited or agreed to uphold as a basic tenet of their practice, is believed to have been penned about 400 BCC by the Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Medicine. ” The oath includes promises not to provide deadly medicine to any one if asked or even suggest such a course of action, and to never cause any patient harm. In the US, prohibitions against intentionally aiding in the death of another date back to the country formation.

Early American statutes outlawed both suicide and assisted suicide. In the early sass, a physician’s grim decision brought euthanasia to the forefront of public debate. On November 12, 1915, a badly deformed child was born to Anna Bollixing. Her doctor conferred with the hospital’s chief of staff, Dry. Harry J. Wassailed, who advised against performing surgery to save the child. Five days later, the baby girl died, and the case and Dry. Hacienda’s decision were widely debated.

During the sass, widespread distress caused by the Great Depression and its accompanying economic turbulence led to a spike in suicide rates and discussions of euthanasia and a right to self-determination over end-of-life matters. Public opinion polls revealed a growing belief that euthanasia was acceptable under certain circumstances. While it seemed that public support for legalizing euthanasia was coalescing, World War II broke out and the world recoiled in horror as news of Nazi death camps and the calculated mass extermination of vulnerable members of society made international headlines.

Such atrocities dampened support for any form of legalized assistance in initiating another’s death. For several decades, case of twenty-one year old Karen Ann Quintal once again moved the euthanasia debate to national headlines. After consuming alcohol and prescription drugs at a party, Quintal lost consciousness and ceased breathing. Quintal was rushed to the hospital, where doctors declared that she was in a “persistent vegetative state,” with full recovery unlikely.

Her adoptive parents fought a year-long legal battle for rights to make the final decision to remove her respirator, thereby likely ensuring the end of her life. Although the New Jersey Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the Quintal family, Karen continued breathing naturally after her respirator was removed for nearly a decade, until she finally succumbed to complications from pneumonia. In 1980, right to die advocate Derek Humphrey formed the Hemlock Society, a grassroots organization that has worked to advance euthanasia legislation.

In addition, growing consensus for patients’ rights, including the right to refuse deiced care”and even life-sustaining care”refocused attention on the right to die movement. Over the next several decades, public support for autonomy in end of life decision making has increased, with several states enacting legislation that recognizes living wills, or a legal document in which a person expresses his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments, including the withdrawal or refusal of life-sustaining medical treatment. Euthanasia Today The history of euthanasia in the US has been marked by several significant cases.

The Quintal case, although decided by a state supreme court, led to the advent of formal ethics committees in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices that provide support in complying with a patient’s advanced health care directives, or written instructions to family members and health care professionals about end of life care. In 1990, the US Supreme Court first ruled on the right to die movement in Curran v. Director, Missouri Department of Health. A car accident left Nancy Curran permanently unconscious and her parents requested that her feeding tube be withdrawn.

After ears of continuous care, most of the costs for Caravan’s hospitalizing were being paid by the State of Missouri. Although a Missouri district court granted the Curran family’s request to remove the tube, the director of the Missouri Department of Health took the case on appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court, arguing for clear proof of Nancy Caravan’s end of life wishes. The case went before the US Supreme Court, which ruled that a competent person has a constitutionally protected right to refuse any medical treatment, although states have a right to insist on clear and convincing evidence as to a patient’s wishes.

In this case, there was no clear and convincing evidence that Curran would have wanted to have life-sustaining treatment withdrawn. In 1998, Dry. Jack Savoring appeared on the television program 60 Minutes, which aired a videotape of him administering a lethal injection to Thomas Yuk, who was suffering from Lou Geris disease. Although several Juries had acquitted Dry. Savoring for assisting in patients’ suicide, in 1999 a Michigan judge sentenced Savoring to ten to twenty-five years in prison for the second-degree murder of Yuk. Savoring served eight years and was released on parole on June 1, 2007.

In another landmark case, Terrier Caviar’s family waged a legal battle for seven years to determine rights to her end of life care. Terrier experienced brain damage resulting from the loss of oxygen in 1990 and lapsed into a persistent vegetative Court to have her feeding tube removed, but her parents objected, arguing that Terrier remained conscious. After complex legal proceedings, the Florida Supreme Court overturned “Terries Law,” emergency legislation that was enacted to give Governor EJB Bush power to order reinsertion of Terries feeding tube, and the US Supreme Court refused to intervene in the case.

Terrier Achieve died thirteen days later on March 31, 2005. Although euthanasia remains illegal in the United States, it is now legal in other countries. In Australia, euthanasia is currently illegal, although it was legalized in the Northern Territory in 1995 and then overturned in 1997. In 2002, both the Netherlands and Belgium officially sanctioned euthanasia. In 2008, Luxembourg legalized euthanasia for the terminally ill and those with incurable diseases or conditions, provided there is documented and witnessed evidence of a patient’s multiple requests to die and the consent of two doctors.

Thesis: The right to assisted suicide relates to the right of each individual to make a very private decision about the time and circumstances of his or her own death. Summary: The right to assisted suicide is a fundamental one. Each individual has the right to make a very private decision about the time and circumstances of their own death. Many mentally competent, terminally ill individuals wish to end their lives for a variety of reasons, including intolerable pain, loss of personal dignity, and the emotional and financial burden of their illness on their families.

No one has the right o remove this personal choice from anyone, or to condemn any person to a protracted, painful death. Assisted suicide is widely practiced, despite state laws prohibiting it and by legalizing it would make for easier regulations of its practice and safeguard against abuse. Terminology The term “euthanasia” comes from a Greek phrase meaning “easy death,” and refers to killing terminally ill individuals to end their suffering. Distinctions should be made among different terms related to euthanasia: passive euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, active euthanasia, and involuntary euthanasia.

Passive euthanasia is equivalent to “letting nature take its course,” either by removing life support equipment, ending artificial supplies of food and water, or choosing not to administer cardiac-pulmonary resuscitation. In physician-assisted suicide, sometimes called “voluntary passive euthanasia” or “APE,” a physician provides information or a means to death, but the patient actually makes the death happen. Active euthanasia is death in response to a request by the patient, such as an injection of a controlled substance.

Involuntary euthanasia relates to killing a patient who has not specifically quested it, usually because they are in a coma or a “persistent vegetative state. ” Assisted Suicide and the Law The U. S. Supreme Court has recognized a distinction between suicide, which intentionally causes death, and decisions to refuse treatment or use pain medication, which may accelerate death but are not intended to cause death. Furthermore, administering an overdose of morphine to relieve pain is acceptable under the law when it is not given specifically to cause death.

In 1997, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that although the public has no general constitutional right to assisted suicide, thing in the Constitution prevents states from passing laws permitting assisted terminally ill patients to request a lethal dose of drugs if two doctors have confirmed that the patient has less than six months to live, and is mentally competent to make the request. The patient, rather than the doctor, must administer the fatal dose. Currently, Oregon is the only state legally permitting assisted suicide.

Why Legalize Assisted Suicide? Assisted suicide is widely practiced, despite state laws prohibiting it. Terminally ill individuals frequently commit suicide with the assistance of family or friends, and impassioned doctors turn off life support or administer lethal doses of painkilling drugs when faced with a request from a patient in intractable pain. Legalizing assisted suicide would make it easier to regulate its practice and safeguard against abuses.

More specifically, legalizing assisted suicide would help patients receive better care while they are alive, especially poor patients who are unable to pay for medication. Sadly, patients with financial means are more likely to have relationships with doctors who are willing to help end their suffering. Many patients do not receive axiom pain relief, due to the failure of insurers and health care programs to cover the cost of special hospice care, as well as to medical ignorance and fear of liability and inadequate hospital funding.

If assisted suicide were made legal, states would be forced to create guidelines, such as the “BANC-Generated Guidelines for Comprehensive Care of the Terminally Ill,” created in September 1996 by Bay Area Network of Ethics Committees, to determine that the patient has received the best medical care and pain management possible. “Terminal sedation,” in which drugs re administered to induce a coma, is frequently accepted as legal, but does not provide an acceptable alternative to assisted suicide.

It has not been confirmed that terminal sedation ends suffering and awareness for the patient Quality of Life for Dying Patients Ironically, knowing that they have the legal power end their lives may give terminally ill patients emotional security, which may help make the end of their lives bearable. It may prevent some patients from attempting to take their lives while they are still physically able to do so, and encourage them to choose treatments that may extend their lives instead. Legalized assisted suicide can create healthier relationships with doctors by removing patients’ fear of over-treatment.

Legal Precedent According to the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, “No State shall… Deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. ” This clause, known as the “Due Process Clause,” has been used by the Supreme Court to protect the right of individuals to make decisions about ” … The most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to a person’s dignity and autonomy. ” [Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992]. In West Virginia State Board of Education v.

Barnett, the Supreme Court explained that “… No official… Can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion…. ” In 1990, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stated in Curran v. Missouri that .. [t]he choice between life and death is a deeply personal decision of obvious and overwhelming finality. ” Therefore, there is a great deal of precedent in interpreting the Constitution to support the right of individuals to make the very personal decision about how and when they wish to end their lives. If a patient wants

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