The right to life continues to be a significant issue for public debate. Although this issue is one that has been most recently framed in the context of embryonic stem cell research, it is evident that this issue is also encapsulated in the debate over euthanasia or assisted suicide. While many opponents of this practice claim that euthanasia is a significant violation of the individual's right to life, proponents contend that euthanasia provides individuals with the empowerment to live a quality of life that the individual sees as fitting. Mixed deeply within this debate is the issue of religion and the implications that exist with respect to the morality of committing suicide.
Clearly, the issue of assisted suicide is one in which salient arguments have been made on both sides. However, when one looks closely at the specific issues involved in the process of euthanasia, it becomes evident that the right to die is a deeply personal issue that must be addressed by the individual, not society. Much like the decision to bear a child or the decision to follow a specific religion, the right to die is an action that is protected by the Constitution. As such, the practice of euthanasia should be made legal in the United States. In an effort to support this assertion, this investigation considers the controversy surrounding the issue of euthanasia and the Constitutional challenges that have been raised in an effort to legalize this practice. Through a careful consideration of what has been written on this subject, it will be possible to demonstrate that euthanasia is like any other civil right and should be protected under the law.
[...] Although the Supreme Court has ruled that there is no constitutional basis for legalizing assisted suicide, Callahan contends that there are a number of specific rights and freedoms afforded under the constitution that provide a foundation for the legalization of euthanasia. In particular, Callahan notes the individual's right to both self-determination and individuality. Looking at the broad spectrum of American life, it Callahan argues that the Constitution has served as the basis for developing these issues as key factors in modern culture. [...]
[...] Over the course of time, opponents of this practice believe that society will become so callous and hardened with respect to the viability of human life, the euthanasia will be used as a means to reduce the expense associated with providing medical care to the terminally ill. In short, legalizing euthanasia will lead to further violations of human rights. Thus, the only way to ensure that this does not occur is to prevent the slippery slope from developing by keeping assisted suicide illegal. [...]
[...] The Constitution and Euthanasia With the basic context of the controversy surrounding euthanasia examined, it is now possible to consider the constitutional challenges that have been offered against legalizing euthanasia. Callahan (1997) notes that in the summer of 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that individuals did not have a constitutional right to assisted suicide. Court found that states were free to pass laws that either prohibited or permitted such acts but concluded that the Constitution did not guarantee citizens the right to an assisted death” (p. [...]
[...] Looking first at the issue of due process as it relates to the issue of assisted suicide, Linville contends that similar issues raised in the context of legalizing euthanasia have been raised in the context of abortion. In particular, Linville notes that, “This is precisely what occurred in the Supreme Court's abortion cases, where the liberty interest in physician assistance in abortion was established despite a long legal tradition of outlawing abortion” (p. 201). In spite of these issues however, the Supreme Court was able to overcome these issues and make a definitive ruling on abortion. [...]
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