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Leah Dillingham

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of Euthanasia

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Introduction Relevancy Background COMPETING VALUES Massachusetts, 2012:

Question 2: allows doctors to prescribe to terminally ill patients drugs that would kill them. The law also required a prescribing physician to refer a patient to a psychiatrist or psychologist “if the physician believes the patient may have a disorder causing impaired judgment,” e.g. depression.

Jim Carberry spent a large amount of time and effort trying to get the law on the ballot after his wife, who was terminally ill from a brain tumor did not have the option of assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Early research showed that Massachusetts residents believed in individual choice and respect for others’ choices about death and dying, but the Question 2 support declined to a minority in late October 2012.

The two groups who wanted the question to pass spent over $1 million working to get the law passed; the two opposing spent close to $5 million, mostly on media ads.

On election day, the law failed to pass, but the Q2 supporters are taking the question to legislation before 2016 (the next available time to put it on the ballot). Do we have a right to choose when to die?
Therefore affects our rights- whether or not the states decide if terminally ill people can legally get a physician-aided suicide/be euthanized, i.e. who gets the last word. Current Event
Euthanasia vs assisted suicide:
Euthanasia is when a physician prescribed and administers drugs to kill a terminally ill person
Assisted suicide occurs when a physician provides said drugs in order for a terminally ill patient to kill him/herself

Issue first appeared around 100 years ago
The debate is mainly between religious leaders and jurists & medical ethicists

State's views
Oregon Legislature 1906: A doctor can assist a patient to commit suicide if the patient has a terminal disease and no hope of recovery and 3 other doctors agree that the patient has no hope. The patient has to give complete consent.
In 1994, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that there is no constitutional right to assisted suicide
More than 30 states made euthanasia or assisted suicide a criminal offense

In Germany 1920, a book published ideas about euthanasia, but during WWII, Nazi Germany killed many innocent people using similar means, and the subject was dropped around the world for a generation.

Karen Quinlan Case:
April 1975 Karen Quinlan (21) collapsed after consuming a mixture of alcohol and tranquilizer pills. This caused her to go into a vegetative state where life support was constantly needed and she could never recover. Her parents and a Catholic priest agreed sustaining her life was not a moral obligation. However, the hospital and doctors refused to disconnect Quinlan's respirator. Trial by New Jersey Supreme Court in March 1976 said that since Karen was incompetent, her guardian and family had the right to make decisions regarding her privacy rights. Quinlan died in 1985. Controversy e l e v a Anti- or pro-euthanasia/ assisted suicide

Right-to-die advocates believe that it is a liberty to be able to end excruciating pain, euthanasia opponents say it isn't in the constitution and is wrong

Controversial aspects of euthanasia include:
Decisions made for a person when they are in a vegetative state (e.g. Karen Quinlan)
Many religions believe that people die when they are meant to die (One example is the Roman Catholic Church, who follow Vatican rules saying that deliberate ending of life is wrong)
It is not mentioned directly in the Constitution - some argue the right to privacy
And, obviously, the question of morale- is euthanasia wrong / immoral? n c y Make euthanasia and assisted suicide a crime Legalization Alternatives To legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide means that it will be available for any terminally ill patient anywhere that is qualified. 2009 Only Oregon and Washington legalize euthanasia. In October 1996, Ohio's supreme court ruled that assisted suicide is not a crime. Washington v. Glucksberg: the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that no right to assisted suicide exists, but states could decide whether to allow assisted suicides to take place.
February 4-5 poll of 1,001 Americans asked " Generally speaking, do you support or oppose legalizing euthanasia in the U.S.?"

Total number who supported legalization of Euthanasia: 42%

Total number who answered "Strongly Support" legalization of Euthanasia: 28%

Total number who answered "Moderately Support" legalization of Euthanasia: 28% STATS This would mean that no physician anywhere would be able to administer assisted suicide or euthanasia to terminally ill patients, even if they have been able to perform it before. 47 States and DC consider assisted suicide to be illegal

39 states have laws prohibiting assisted suicide

Massachusetts, West Virginia, Alabama, Vermont and the District of Columbia prohibit assisted suicide by common law This man was imprisoned for 8 years for performing assisted suicides/ euthanasia
February 4-5 poll of 1,001 Americans asked " Generally speaking, do you support or oppose legalizing euthanasia in the U.S.?"

Total number who opposed legalizing euthanasia: 37%

Total percent who answered "Moderately Oppose" legalizing Euthanasia: 14%

Total percent who answer "Strongly Oppose" legalizing Euthanasia: 23% STATS Vacco v. Quill,1997-The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that New York’s prohibition on assisting suicide does not violate the equal protection rights of terminally ill adults seeking physician assistance in committing suicide. Euthanasia and assisted suicide with restrictions This idea is supported by people such as euthanasia executive Derek Humphrey and attorney Bruce Fein MORE AND BETTER This option specifically limits euthanasia and assisted suicide to ensure voluntary choice and to create a compromise while legalizing the practices. RESTRICTIONS/ LIMITS

Hospice care and pain management medication would be made more available so that patients could consider other options.

People who assist a suicide would not profit or benefit by the death through inheritance, donated organs, medical research, etc.

Solicitation of assisted suicide would be illegal.

Decisions to have an assisted suicide must be on record.

There would be witnesses to prove that the procedure was voluntarily decided.

Alloted time would be given so decisions could be revoked.
A. Conflicting Values B. Government Involvement 1970s- demand for “death with dignity” began on a large scale
1990- Patient Self-Determination Act- people can refuse medical treatment and support living wills.
1991- Washington state rejects legalization of assisted suicide
1992- Michigan jury indicts Dr. Kevorkian, a famed doctor in assisted suicides, for murder of 2 patients that he aided in suicide.
1996- Ohio state Supreme Court ruled assisted suicide is not a crime
Today- 34 states have laws that label assisted suicide a crime Opposition- see it as “mercy killing” and a Nazi Germany euthanasia program.

Support- alleviate suffering at the end of life C. Interest Groups OPPOSITION

Care Not Killing- want to promote better health care to decrease desire for assisted suicide.

Not Dead Yet- believe that the “targets” of “mercy killing” need protection from assisted suicide. SUPPORT

Choice In Dying- a person has the right to end his/her life.
Dignity In Dying- assisted suicide alleviates suffering for the person Solution ALLOW EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED SUICIDE WITH RESTRICTIONS Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide should be legal as long as there are good hospice and palliative care options available, full consent of the patient with a witness, and other appropriate measures. This solution makes sure that people have the right to their own life and decisions about it.
It ensures that euthanasia and assisted suicide programs are not driven underground in unsafe, illegal environments and helps let people leave this world quickly without pain.
Gives some restrictions that those who disagree with the practice of assisted suicide, while still making it legal.
Gives patients the option of having palliative care instead of resorting to assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Gives patients less fear of death and the pain, and lets them trust doctors more because they know the doctors will work as hard as possible to help them stay alive.
Doctors try their hardest in places with legal assisted suicide and euthanasia so that no patient asks for it. Karen Quinlan Case: (seen in background of project) 1975 court ruling gave family the right to end Karen’s life when nothing could be done, she shouldn’t be kept alive if nothing would really bring her back.
1937 Gallup Poll 46% yes 54% no
The Judiciary has not sided on either extreme, leaving the middle ground open.
1996. Ohio Supreme Court ruled assisted suicide is not a crime.
Vacco v. Quill, 1997. Supreme Court ruled that prohibition of assisted suicide in New York is not illegal.
In Oregon, where this middle option is the law, of the assisted suicide patients, 475 patients had loss of autonomy and 294 lost control of their bodily functions. These should not be controversial cases, because the patients could not lead a life without dependency on hospitals for survival and they were in a place where their options were few.
Only Oregon, Washington, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg have legal assisted suicide and in these places there are restrictions. This shows that society will not tolerate the extreme of having completely legal euthanasia and assisted suicide.
In places where euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal, many patients who have lost autonomy or control of bodily functions are not able to take their life in their own hands and make decisions about it. Many do not have the options of hospice care that they can afford, and have to suffer instead of ending peacefully. Why This is the Best Solution Stats and Facts Advantages Making euthanasia and assisted suicide legal with restrictions is more advantageous than making it completely legal or making it illegal because it gives people the freedom of their own body, keeps euthanasia and suicide as minimal as possible and is only used in desperate situations. Fin! Emma R, Emily W, Leah D Choices I. Legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide

II. Make the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide a crime/ illegal

III. Legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide with restrictions By Emily W, Emma R, and Leah D
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