Glucksberg v. WashingtonAKA: Compassion In Dying v. Washington
“Choosing death before dishonor is seen by some philosophers and ethicists as a rational reason to commit suicide.” In the 1994 case of Glucksberg v. Washington (Otherwise acknowledged as Compassion In Dying v. The State Of Washington), Harold Glucksberg, alongside the right-to-die organization Compassion In Dying, filed a suit in opposition to the state of Washington for three fatally ill patients he treated. Dr. Glucksberg and “Compassion in Dying” set their case saying that the ban against doctor-assisted suicide was violating the right patients right of due process and placed an unjustified burden on terminally ill patients who required help to stop suffering misery from the disease that plagued their body and/or mind. While the case was in the state of Washington, it was seen in the plaintiff’s favor: Dr. Harold Glucksberg and Compassion In Dying. Because of this the state laws changed in support of doctor-assisted suicide. The state of Washington still opposed the idea of this so they ordered an appeal. By 1997 the case, along with another case, (Quill v. Vacco), reached the Supreme Court. The decision in the Supreme Court did not, however, meet up to the original case. The defense won the trial.
The case had a many important questions to it. In one question: is physician-assisted suicide morally, ethically, legally correct, and/or fair to anyone? Ethically Correct? “One ought not to commit an act of euthanasia because it is unjust in the sense of punishing someone when no punishment is due.” This quote was used because it brings up another question. Why do people disagree with the euthanasia procedure? The reason for this lies in ethics. Of most religions people practice, death is thought to be the worst punishment possible. If death is the worst punishment, then suicide is thought to be a sense of punishment undeserved while you are in pain already because of a disease/sickness. Morally Correct? As this may be true to people of faith, what is it to others? When a man or woman of any age is already dying physically, moving on to emotionally/ mentally and is in great pain every second they move or even as simple as opening their eyes, what is death then? Morally, that person sees it as a way to stop being nothing. They see the truth – they’re dead anyway. What are other reasons to live but for other’s sake? If a person can no longer sit alone and watch the flowers dancing in the wind with the sun shinning on them (Or simply enjoy beauty in the world), then why should they live? What’s fair in these two senses? Because it seems that morals contradict ethics, what is fair? Should fair be to the individual suffering (like Dr.
The Futility of Dying for a State through Poetic Devices: "Dulce et Decorum Est" and "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" (1920) uses vivid imagery primarily to remove any romantic or patriotic idea that it is sweet to die for one's country. Randall Jarrell's "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" uses ambiguity to compare the death for the state to an ...
Glucksberg’s three patients) or to the people that stand by not experiencing the pain? I leave these questions open to you because not a single person can tell another what to believe is fair. It will always be seen as unfair or fair. There will always be someone who rebels.“What interest can the state possibly have in requiring the prolongation of a life that is all but ended?” One opinion that supports the fairness of physician-assisted suicide is the fact that populace are allowed, by law (after a certain age), to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes, all the time harming themselves, but the law doesn’t step in. Why does the law all of a sudden start caring about your body when it comes to physician-assisted suicide if you’re already being harmed in body and/or mind by something you had no control over? “Every human being of adult years and sound mind has the right to determine what shall be done with his own body.” A matter of law? The 14th amendment states that we have a right to “life, liberty, and property.” This poses a question: who owns our bodies? The answer to this question should be obvious: you own your body (unless you are religious and believe God owns your body.) These two points bring up 2 perspectives.
The issue of physician-assisted suicide has come to be one of the most controversial legal issues in recent history. In my opinion I think that the law is designed to lay out guidelines for the social conduct of individuals in society. Yet, within this definition there are extremes on both ends of the spectrum in which the law encompasses. The question of whether or not physicians can legally ...
If you own your own body because the law says you do, doesn’t that mean you’re legally allowed to do what you want with your body? If you believe God owns your body, then you’re most likely against the idea of physician-assisted suicide. Some religious people feel that if God owns your body, then death to a body would be wrong because God owns it. Therefore you could commit a sin and be forced to an afterlife that isn’t that great. In conclusion, physician-assisted suicide with the euthanasia procedure is morally correct for terminally ill adult patients of competent minds yet incorrect ethically. As both contradict each other, fair cannot be determined because it’s an opinion. And from a legal perspective – Suicide can only be fit under the idea of everyone owning him or herself and deciding what is best for them.
“The very emphasis of the commandment Thou shalt not kill makes it certain that we spring from an endless ancestry of murders, with whom the lust for killing was in the blood, as possibly it is to this day with ourselves” (6)
BibliographyGlucksberg vs. WashingtonAKA: Compassion In Dying v. Washington
1. Barry, Robert. Breaking The Thread Of Life On Rational Suicide. Transaction Publishers. New Brunswick and London. 1994.
2. Barbour, Scott; Bender, David; Leone, Bruno; Stalcup, Brenda; Roleff, Tamara. Suicide: Opposing View Points. Greenhaven Press, Inc., San Diego, California. 1998.
3. Bloyd, Sunni. Euthanasia. Lucent Books, Inc. San Diego, California. 1995.
4. Clemons, James. Perspectives On Suicide. Westminster/John Knox Press. Louisville, Kentucky. 1990.
6. Knol, Marvin. The Morality Of Killing. Peter Owen Limited. London. 1974.
7. Urofsky, Melvin. Letting Go: Death, Dying, and The Law. Macmillan Publishing Company. New York, New York. 1993.