Voluntary and Assisted Euthanasia

Voluntary/Assisted Euthanasia

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Voluntary/Assisted Euthanasia

A question of morality comes in mind when a person wants to end their life or their life is ended either voluntarily or involuntarily. On a legal perspective, mercy killing or rather assisted euthanasia is illegal and is treated as murder or manslaughter (Huxtable, 2013). However, in the case of Terri Schiavo, a patient who had suffered brain injuries that left her suffering so much, the government had the audacity to approve an assisted euthanasia. Apparently, it was said that she had the will to live even though it was under so much suffering but the government decided to end her life by removing her breathing tube and depriving her food and water until she died as an act of mercy to end her suffering (Burt, 1998).

The bitter question is whether the government selectively believes in safeguarding the life of some people while it ignores others. In this case, Terri’s euthanasia was involuntary as the government decided her fate for her thus making it an active euthanasia. However, when it comes to Dax Cowart, a lawyer who had faced the worst of life, he had tried to demand a voluntary euthanasia (Thomasma, 1990). Dax got burnt in a gas explosion that killed his father and left more than two-thirds of his body burnt as well as making him blind. He had pleaded out of desperation for is life to be ended but the doctors refused thus choosing to preserve his life rather than taking it even though he was under anguish (Huxtable, 2013).

Moreover, it is ethically wrong in the nursing practice for any medical personnel to assist in euthanasia unless legally compelled by the government (Franklin Springs Family Media, 2009). Apparently, in the two contexts, one life was taken involuntarily while another was also preserved involuntarily. The question of the morality of safeguarding human life poses a big dilemma in a situation where patients are suffering. One may tend to agree that there is some degree of suffering that should just be ended either voluntary or involuntarily but by the end of the day, it is still illegal (McCuen & Boucher, 1988).

Life was not given by God for us to take at will. A person’s life should end when the time comes but not prematurely no matter what the situation. Others may tend to differ from this school of thought but it is good to remember that under the suicide Act of 1964, any form of euthanasia is punishable by death and should be treated as a criminal offense (Thomasma, 1990). Besides, the church has to intervene so as to end this malicious act of mercy killings. A patient who is suffering has the right to be given a chance to fight for his life and live until his time comes (Thomasma, 1990).

For example, if Dax was given a chance for voluntary euthanasia, the world would have lost a great inspirational man today whom after recovering went further to even attain a degree in law as well as becoming an inspirational actor who assisted in the shooting of two famous movies. It is upon the government to take the Suicide Act of 1964 safeguard the right to life for all humanity irrespective of their ethnicity, citizenship, race or even social status. It is only God who has the right to take life as he is the only one who gives; apparently, this teaching is embraced by all religions and it is the high time human life is respected (McCuen & Boucher, 1988).


Burt, R. A. (1998). Confronting Death: Who Chooses? Who Controls? A Dialogue between Dax Cowart and Robert Burt. Faculty Scholarship Series, 1. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/fss_papers/706/

Franklin Springs Family Media. (2009). The Terry Schiavo Documentary. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cki55BM42kw

Huxtable, R. (2013). Euthanasia.

McCuen, G. E., & Boucher, T. (1988). Terminating life: Conflicting values in health care. Hudson, Wis: Gary E. McCuen Publications.

Thomasma, D. C. (1990). Human life in the balance. Louisville, KY: Westminster/J. Knox Press.