Story last updated at 4/1/2009 - 11:06 am
Editor's note: This is part of a series of essays written last fall by Floyd Dryden eighth grade students in Samantha Davis' class.
Did you know that euthanasia means, "good death" in ancient Greek? But is it really a "good death"? Euthanasia should be illegal in the United States.
Legalizing euthanasia would lead to involuntary killing. About 60 years ago, Germany made euthanasia legal. At first it was only permitted to be used for the terminally ill, later those with psychological afflictions, and eventually the people who could not make decisions on their own. One thousand patients died without their request. Why couldn't that happen in the United States?
Charles Odom, a 34-year-old former Air Force officer, happened to get into an accident that caused him to become disabled. His disabilities did not stop him; Odom got on a plane and flew to the Supreme Court with other people with disabilities. Odom stated, "The worry is that if there's a right to a assisted suicide it will be used to get rid of us."
Not only could legalizing euthanasia lead to involuntary killing, but also the person could be incapacitated and left in the relative's care, who then may decide to use euthanasia for financial or other reasons.
Terri Schiavo, a married woman in a vegetative state, was in a hospital. She breathed on her own; the only tube she had in her was one giving her hydration and nutrition. Terri was not terminally ill. She was healthy with a mere disability. Terri's parents asked her husband to step down as her legal guardian and allow them to take over. The family went through many courts but in the end her husband won and her feeding tube was removed. She died slowly, after days. Is this the right thing to do to an innocent woman?
According to a survey conducted in 2002, 63.5 percent of the people who took the survey would want to die on their own without euthanasia. 30.4 percent of the people who took the survey would want euthanasia, 6.1 percent were undecided. Only one third of the people would want euthanasia instead of dying on their own. Decisions may not be the patients' choices.
Furthermore, euthanasia goes against the Hippocratic oath. The Hippocratic oath is an oath to which doctors take after completing medical school. The oath states "I will not give poison to anyone though asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a plan". From the earliest days euthanasia was considered sinful. Religious believers were taught to preserve their lives but not to go to great lengths to do so. That point brings us back to the Hippocratic oath, the oath does not mention anything about not going to extreme lengths to preserve a patient's life, as it is sometimes believed to do so.
Euthanasia needs to be illegal in the United States. Legalizing euthanasia would lead to involuntary killing; patients may be incapacitated so family members will decide to use euthanasia for other reasons, and euthanasia goes against the Hippocratic oath. Murder isn't allowed in the United States, so why should assisted murder be allowed?