Think about all the things people do on a daily basis that is illegal but done anyway. For example, speeding on the highway, we all rush sometimes, its illegal but its done by probably the majority of you all reading. An even better example is a more highly controversial topic, buying and smoking marijuana. It is legal in a few state but it is prevalent in almost every. Euthanasia can be seen as a similar situation as it is only legal in 5 of the 50 states, but even law abiding citizens such as doctors and patients commit illegal actions in order to do what is truly best in the given situation.
So the main argument here is very pragmatic in the sense that it is already such a widespread practice, therefore, in regulating it properly it will not only give justice to the terminally ill but more important it will stop inflicting the label of criminals upon them and their doctors. Often doctors believe that it is their duty to help their patients with whatever they want to do in order to respect their wishes and end their suffering. Often in order to avoid prosecution Doctors need to be extremely careful with their language and actual assistance with the patient. Often doctors will prescribe their terminally ill patients with narcotics, such as pain killers, which in turn allows them to choose to purposely overdose.
This uncomfortable middle-grown can be exemplified through a case of a husband and wife, Hope Arnold and J.D Falk. J.D was diagnosed with stomach cancer and was unable to find a doctor to help him and ultimately was discharged to go home on hospice. Her wife ran into one of his doctors on the way out and he passed her a bottle of liquid morphine and said “you might need it.” Although he
did not take it and passed away a few days later naturally, the article mentions the point of intent. It states “People don’t talk about it, but it happens. Just over 3 percent of U.S. doctors said they have written a prescription for life-ending medication. Almost 5 percent of doctors reported giving a patient a lethal injection. Those practices are undercover. They are covert.” These actions are needed but should not need to be so heavily concealed.
The most important example of this argument, however, revolves around the famous figure of euthanasia, is Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He is a renowned medical pathologist, with the nickname Mr. Death, who had assisted in over 100 terminally ill patients in their death. He created the “Thanatron” which was made up of 3 bottles of fatal drugs. He made headlines soon after as he assisted the suicide of Janet Adkins, through an attached IV out of his Volkswagen van. Kevorkian was prosecuted a total of four times in Michigan and was acquitted in three of the cases, he stated that “he wanted to be imprisoned in order to shed light on the hypocrisy and corruption of society.” He continued his practice and ultimately in 1999 he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. After serving 8 years, he was released for good behavior and upon his release he immediately began speaking out about assisted suicide. In June of 2011, Kevorkian died of heart failure, but his legacy most definitely lives on.
Through these examples, it is clear that regardless of its legality, euthanasia is still widely practiced amongst the doctors of all states in America. Instead of convicting these harmless doctors and patients, why not allow them make their own decisions in the public light instead of forcing them to partake in illegal activity for ultimate justice?