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Free Essay on Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia – Playing God

Playing God: A Role That Shouldn’t Be Cast

All humans will die. Approximately 2,155,000 people from the United States will die in one year. In the United States, during the year of 1989, 34% of all deaths were caused by heart disease, 23% caused by cancer, 6% by strokes, and 2.2% by accidents involving motor vehicles. In that same year, 5.5% of the deaths were caused by medical negligence and suicide (Leading causes). This does not take into consideration the number of people who were killed by assisted suicide and euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is described as the intentional discontinuation, by the patient’s physician, of vital treatment that could prolong the person’s life. Assisted suicide occurs when a health care worker provides a patient with tools and/or medication that will help the patient kill him or herself, without the direct intervention of the care provider. Active euthanasia takes place when the doctor is responsible for the killing of the patient; for example, when the doctor administers a lethal injection (Schofield, 25). Active euthanasia is illegal in the United States. Only three states have legalized assisted suicide and only Oregon permits physician-assisted suicide. Thirty-five states, including Colorado, have statutes criminalizing assisted suicide and nine states criminalize assisted suicide through common law (Assisted suicide laws). In addition to active and passive euthanasia there are three other categories of euthanasia: voluntary, nonvoluntary, and involuntary. Voluntary, there is written or spoken consent from the patient; nonvoluntary, the patient can not voice his or her opinion because of unconsciousness or comatose; and involuntary, which goes against the wishes of the patient, and constitutes murder (Schofield, 26). Assisted suicide and euthanasia, in any form, are murder.

“People are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to them” (Vaticana, 550). To decide if euthanasia is wrong, one must first decide whom life belongs to. The Bible says, “In God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10). Life belongs to God and since God gave life to the human race, God should decide when it is time to take life. Also, the fifth commandment says, “Thou shall not kill.” Assisted suicide and euthanasia disobey this commandment.

Supporters of euthanasia argue that the First Amendment “forbids the establishment of religion” and therefore one can’t say life belongs to God. However, in the case of Bowers versus Hardwick in 1986, the Supreme Court ruled “that citizens in a democracy may vote away individual rights, even if that vote is based ultimately on nothing but religious faith” (Bowden).

Morals and Ethics of Cloning

Morals and Ethics of Cloning

Cloning is the process of taking cells from a donor, placing them in a culture dish where the nutrients are minimal, so the cells stop dividing and switch their “active genes”. The cells are then put next to an unfertilized egg. The nucleus is sucked out of the egg leaving an empty egg cell containing all the cellular machinery necessary to produce an embryo. An electric shock is used to fuse the egg and cell together. A second shock is then used to mimic the act of fertilization and help begin cell division. After the egg has successfully moved to the stage of an embryo it is then placed in to the uterus of a surrogate mother. When born, all the genes are the same as the donor of the cell.

In 1997 Dr. Ian Wilmut, a British scientist successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly. This turned the scientific world upside-down. The success of the experiment is considered by all as an amazing achievement in science. However, ethics and morals must surface to regulate cloning. It is understood that individuality is the most important part of life. Individuality is given to a person at birth and considered a right they will have for rest of their life. There is also a fear that the clone may only be produced to live the life of the clone, thus causing severe emotional damage as well pain and suffering for the clone. The progression of the clone may be limited, the advance in idea development will slowly die off. Evolution could come to a halt, because with clones, diversity will be limited and there will not be as many advances in society. The cells, in all humans, will all be the same and there will not be a process of natural selection and diversity.

Another controversial question facing the cloning process is: How will the clones be treated? The emotions of the clones need to be taken in to consideration, after all they are humans too. “What is common to these various views, however, is a shared understanding that being a ‘person’ is different from being the manipulated ‘object’ of other peoples desires and expectations”(Biomedical Ethics). People, as clones, will be studied, prodded, and poked which in turn will cause much unwanted anxiety and emotional distress. There will also be problems with relationships between parents and the clone for understandable reasons.

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