The subject of “Death” has often sparked controversial debates of, is it right or wrong, whether humans should be deciding one’s fate or just leave a human to die of their own will. I will present three controversial topics, the death penalty, abortion, and euthanasia, which have divided our nation between if it should be allowed or not allowed. Living in a nation with freedom of speech usually sways with the major opinion and tends to cloud what is morally or ethically the right path to take on the issue of death. One would have to keep in mind our society is made up of many different cultures, which means one cultures view of wrong could be another cultures view of what is right. My claim is pro choice on the matter of death because people use free will all their lives, but when it comes to death that right is not available or seen as wrong in the eyes of society. I will demonstrate why pro-choice with issues like the death penalty where hardened criminal’s decisions to kill another which is wrong choose the death penalty as they are aware of the consequence; a woman deciding on abortion should have the choice to proceed or not with the birth of a child; and euthanasia should be available to those who cannot deal with a critical illness that does not allow for self care or machine assisted living comas. Let’s move forward and dive into why it is the choice of the criminal to except the punishment of their heinous crimes by way of the death penalty.
The criminal’s choice for the death penalty happens as soon as the death of another has taken place. The reason I say that the criminals choose the death penalty is because a human has contemplated the act that they are going to commit and are willing to accept the consequences that come along with it. Haag (1986) expressed that one may believe that everyone involved, the murderer and victim, has a right to life and not the death. I feel that the criminal that murders the victim gives up that right of life and chooses the consequence of the death penalty. Society would have us think the death penalty is wrong and needs to be abolished.
The feelings that the death penalty by the moral and ethical side of society sees it as wrong and only done because people think it is a deterrent of horrible homicidal crimes. Radelet & Akers (1996) did a survey that asked if the death penalty was a deterrent of murders how would you vote, the people were for it, and once they resurveyed and informed people that the death penalty was not a deterrent of murders, the people’s vote dropped drastically. This is why the moral and ethical side of society is insisting the death penalty be abolished from a choice of punishment for hardened criminals because most of society assumes that the death penalty helps prevent murder and other heinous crimes. This type of thinking takes away the ability to dispose of a human that has a disregard for the laws and human rights of our society. Without the choice of even considering the death penalty for the worst of worst eventually these criminals will be right back on the streets. The choice of having the death penalty available stops that from happening. I’ll give an example of another issue with the same kind of controversy abortion.
I feel women’s choice to have an abortion should not be criticized. Women through the ages have been forced to keep unwanted babies because it has been classified as a crime of murder and the facilities are not available to correctly or safely abort a pregnancy. There is physical and emotional change that affects a woman when carrying a child. I know there is life when carrying a fetus, but if that woman is not able to provide or in a position to properly care for a child why not have the option to abort the pregnancy, not to mention women that have become pregnant as a result of abuse? The woman has to live with the decision of following through with the abortion and the choice she has made was a personal one, her right not that of society. Finer & Fine (2013) find that there are about 39% of countries that still do not allow for women to have the choice to terminate a pregnancy. Well let’s explore the flip side of the issue why abortion should not be allowed.
The act of abortion is a thoughtless woman who is not considering the life opportunities of the fetus growing inside her. Marquis (1989) argues that abortion is wrong because it deprives the fetus of its future. This philosophy is believed because society feels you should give the fetus a fighting chance to be determined their future by allowing them to live. This kind of rationale needs to take in to account that the child depends on the mother for the rest of her life to provide for them. I feel the philosophy to not abort just sets up the unborn child for an unfair start in to reach their potential in life. We need to remember we are humans and mistakes are made and each case is unique and should be treated as such for example, the woman could have been a rape victim that brought about an unwanted pregnancy or a woman used protection and the protection failed. The reason for abortion is not really relevant it’s the option to have abortion available for women without recourse for their decision. Another issue dealing with death is euthanasia with massive ridicule of the act.
The act of euthanasia should be an available choice of those with critical illnesses that leave a person unable to care for one’s self and not for those in perfect health. I feel that the choice to allow a love one dignity and peace must be an available option. I know cures are found everyday, but some religions prevent people from taking them leaving them with only option of euthanasia. Duncan & Parmelee (2006) did a study that showed that times had changed the decisions towards euthanasia for most patients and cases dealing with suffering as a solution. Most people would like to die with people’s memory of them as seen in a proud and healthy state. Having illnesses like Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Cancer can leave a person in a state where they are embarrassed of how vulnerable and weak they have become. This state of suffering should be consulted during the early stages in order to carry out ones wishes. Others feel allowing euthanasia will cause a slippery slope of unnecessary death in cases where there are possible cures or lead to others wanting to request for euthanasia.
The disapproval of euthanasia expresses that it devalues human life. Gay-Williams (1979) feels that euthanasia is wrong and that a loved one is taking advantage of a sick helpless person. I feel other people fear death and do not want the responsibility of taking the life of someone they love life, but the disease has already done that. These are good arguments, but again the choice of the person should be their own and we must respect that. I stated earlier that everyone has his or her beliefs and cultures that play a part in their decisions and we must honor those choices. It has also been argued that if we allow sick people to choose death why can’t anyone have this right. I feel this is not the case you would be committed if you wanted to just commit suicide without prior illness. This is not what euthanasia is intended for but if someone would want to do so there should be some strict guidelines allowing this to take place. The option of choice for death must be explored all the same.
The topic of death really forces you to explore your moral and ethical choices of what is best for yourself regarding issues like the death penalty, abortion and euthanasia. Society needs to remember our nation is made up of people with the freedom to choose what they think is best for themselves. We have laws like the death penalty to keep us safe from criminals that can cause harm to our way of living. Though society feels its inhumane at the end of the day our streets are little bit safer with them executed. The same with abortion, ones choice to follow through with the procedure should not be criticized by society. You do not know the process of the woman coming to the conclusion of abortion and preventing the choice just means you will be losing two lives instead of one if procedure is done incorrectly. Euthanasia should be a choice for all humans and it does not devalue life it allows a person to die with dignity. Being able to choose should not be restricted because society does not understand the reasoning, and society must respect the freedom we have to choose these options.
Duncan, O D, and L F Parmelee. “Trends In Public Approval Of Euthanasia And Suicide In The U.S., 1947-2003.”Journal Of Medical Ethics: The Journal Of The Institute Of Medical Ethics 32.5 (2006): 266-272. Philosopher’s Index. Web. 20 May 2013.
Finer, Louise, and Johanna B. Fine. “Abortion Law Around The World: Progress And Pushback.” American Journal Of Public Health 103.4 (2013): 1197-e5. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 20 May 2013.
Gay-Williams, J., “The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia,” 709-11 (edited). Copyright 1979 by Ronald Munson. Publish from Ronald Munson, “Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics,” 4th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company: Belmont, California
Haag, Ernest van de, “The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense,” Harvard Law Review 99 (1986): 1662-69 (edited). Copyright 1886 by Havard Law Review Association.
Marquis, Don, “Why Abortion Is Immoral,” Journal of Phlosophy, vol.86, April1989, 183-202 Reprinted by permission of author and Journal of Philosophy
Radelet, Michael L., and Ronald L. Akers. “Deterrence And The Death Penalty: The Views Of The Experts.” The Journal Of Criminal Law And Criminology (1973-) 1 (1996): 1. JSTOR Arts & Sciences IV. Web. 20 May 2013.