That’s one of the Ten Commandments in the Bible, which many religious groups and conservatives take to heart; but does this apply to euthanasia, also known as mercy killing?
Just recently, I heard a conversation about a man named Jack Kevorkian and how he was arrested for murder and sent to prison for eight years, charged for ending the lives of people who chose to die for pragmatic reasons. The patients were terminally ill and diagnosed to have less than several months to live or were disabled to the point where life was unbearable.
I believe that, like Kevorkian, under certain circumstances, people should be allowed to choose death to end insufferable physical and emotional pain if it’s sensible.
Euthanasia is the act of intentionally killing a person to relieve misery and suffering. It comes from the Greek term “good death.” It is considered illegal in United States, the states of Oregon, Washington, and Montana being exceptions, to end a human being’s life—whether it is your life or someone else’s— even for compassionate reasons.
For example, a woman diagnosed with terminal breast cancer has only a week to live. She’s in excruciating pain, and she and her husband both agree that it would be better if she would die now. Since it’s against the law, doctors cannot allow for it and so she suffers along with her husband, who watches her slowly die before his eyes.
In Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank plays a successful boxer who, at the end, breaks her neck and is paralyzed for life. Her leg has to be amputated because of muscle atrophy and bed sores. Because she has no future left, Swank asks her boxing trainer, played by Clint Eastwood, if he can kill her to end her suffering. He at first rejects her idea, until he sees how badly she wants to die after she attempts two suicides by biting her tongue. He finally kills her by injecting her with adrenaline.
Mercy killing should be legalized, but with a few exceptions, such as the patient’s days have to numbered by less than a couple of months or the illness or injury has to be at an advanced, serious stage where there would be no hope of survival.
I would definitely not want to make my friend suffer like Swank did if she desired to die so much. Sure, it is true that we love life and enjoy it as much as we can, but it is also true that when your sickness or injury is so intolerable and painful, and you know you have no future ahead or your days are numbered, you have every right to want to die.