A Peaceful Death is Necessary

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The Topic Set that I have decided to write about is death.  Death is something that is eventually inevitable.  By definition, death is “the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a particular living organism”.  Abortion, euthanasia, animal rights and the death penalty all result in death one way or another.  My claim about death is that for the betterment of society as a whole sometimes death is necessary, but in a way that is peaceful.  My claim regarding death is important to societal morality because I believe society has the moral obligation to protect the rights and safety of their citizens. I believe that death sometimes being necessary should be accepted worldwide as okay because it has a positive outcome on society.  Some oppositional claims about my my topic regarding death, might be that life should be valued more than death and that death is never necessary for the betterment of society.  It is important that death is sometimes necessary to keep us and future generations out of harms way and in safe hands. In the following paragraphs, I will argue that since death is a necessary outcome for the betterment of society, we must support the ethical issues including abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty and animal rights.  Each of these ethical issues connect one way or another, all for the betterment of society.

Having demonstrated the importance of death, I assert in order for death to be successful we must work to support worldwide access to the pro-choice option of abortion. By definition, abortion is the “termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability”.  Abortion is human intervention that does not allow a developing fetus to be born that results in termination or in other words death. Pro-choice movements advocate for legal access to abortion and offer women the right over their own body.  My perspective on this issue is in support of pro-choice.  I believe that if it is your body, then therefore it should be your choice and unalienable right to decide the future for yourself and for your unborn fetus.  Based on our readings we discussed in class, the health of the mother is the ultimate importance and someone who took all the right precautions to prevent pregnancy should not be at fault.  We also discussed individual’s not having a moral obligation to none but themselves.  The first scenario based on not being at fault if taking the proper precautions, was about a woman keeping her window open to let the cool breeze in on a hot summer night, with a screen.  Although her window was open with only a screen, she did not ask for a robber to sneak in through the window.  I thought the window being open stood for the woman’s choice of being sexuality active and the screen on the window symbolized her responsible choice of using birth control or another contraception to prevent pregnancy.  Although she was taking the proper precautions there was still a slim possibility of a robber breaking in or in other words having an unplanned pregnancy, as an outcome of keeping her window open or in other words being sexuality active.  The second scenario involves one having no moral obligations to no one but themselves.  In class we had a discussion about Judith Thomson’s reading.  This argument was based on imagining being kidnapped and waking up one morning, finding yourself attached to the circulatory system of a famous violinist who will die if you unplug yourself.  In my own words I thought about it like this, imagine waking up connected to someone, but not by choice.  If you decided to unplug yourself from this other individual then the outcome would result in their death.  I believe that unplugging yourself does not make you cruel, bad intentioned or a killer even though it does result in their death.  Not only do I not think a woman is not morally obligated, but also that a woman should have safe access to an abortion.  In recent years, abortion restrictions have made abortion harder to access and harder to afford, making it just as inaccessible to many women as it would be if it were outright illegal.  As an outcome of inaccessibility of abortions, thousands of women are admitted to hospitals every year for septic abortions when the procedure was illegal, either from unsafe and unsanitary back-alley providers or their own amateur attempts at home.  Ireland and some African nations banned abortion, except in cases where the woman’s life or health is life threatening.  In Peru, abortion is legal only if it is performed in order to save a woman’s life or health.  This is a life or death decision that only goes as far as ten percent in women.  This law means that it is legal for doctors to refuse abortions, even for young girls who have been a victim of rape.  According to a pro-choice article, researchers estimate that 35,000 pregnancies occur every year in Peru as a result of rape.  This leaves women and girls with either seeking an illegal abortion and facing legal action or suffering with psychological effects of giving birth to their rapist’s child.   It is believed that hundreds of the country’s women die each year as a result of the government refusing to legalize abortions.  Tragically, illegal abortions are the third most common indirect cause of death for pregnant women.  A story that I found very interesting was an article titled, “A 13-year-old’s life destroyed”.  It was about a teenager from Peru who was the target of frequent sexual assaults and became pregnant at the age of thirteen.  Confused and desperate, she jumped from the rooftop of a building in the hopes of ending her life.  Hours later she was rescued and taken to the hospital, where she was found to be in danger of total paralysis if she did not undergo an emergency operation on her spine.  In the United States the circumstances would have been different, but since she was pregnant surgeons refused to perform the procedure, claiming that it would endanger the fetus and therefore be illegal.  This surgery was this thirteen year old’s only hope of ever walking again.  The issue regarding abortion relates to my chosen topic of death because abortion may be viewed as the choice of your own life over one’s death.  Some possible opposing views to my perspective may be that there are other options that include adoption and abstinence, but what if you are taking the proper precautions or are a victim of rape?  Society may view people who decide to terminate their pregnancy as careless and as people who take advantage of the system.  Unfortunately, you cannot draw a line between an individual who is a victim of rape and an individual who took all of the right precautions to someone who has had a numerous amount of procedures performed due to carelessness.  At the end of the day, my claim remains the same due to the fact that all women worldwide should have the choice to do what they want with their own body.  This includes access to peaceful, safe and sanitary surgical procedures, that would avoid the danger of women trying to perform this termination on their own. I believe for the betterment and safety of society, abortion should be legal and accessible worldwide to avoid the danger of harmful and unsanitary self-induced abortions resulting in negative psychological and physical effects.

 Building on that same principle of death being necessary for the betterment of society, we must also support euthanasia and advocate for pro-choice regarding euthanasia for patients worldwide as well.  The second issue within this topic set that I will discuss is physician assisted suicide.  My perspective on this ethical issue regarding euthanasia is the pro-choice perspective as well.  I believe that terminally ill patients should not have to suffer and should have the right to decide when and how they will go.  They should have the right over their own body and the choice to leave this world by a death that is peaceful should be necessary. According to one of our readings by J Hardwig, “there can be a duty to die before one’s illnesses would cause death.”  I completely agree with Hardwig because I believe that one should enjoy whatever remaining quality of life they have left and should have the right to choose whether or not they want to suffer, and should be able to decide when they want to end their suffering.  This issue relates to my chosen topic of death because euthanasia includes the choice of when and how your death will occur.  Euthanasia relates to abortion, because they both have two different perspectives including pro-choice vs. pro-life.  In the case of both abortion and euthanasia, termination and death are necessary for the betterment of society.  In order to prevent patients and mothers dangerously trying to terminate their own lives and the life of their fetus, it is important to have the full support of a doctor who would perform the procedure.  Psychological and physical scarring can result in both cases resulting in negative effects on the individual and many people around that patient or mother.  My perspective on both of them is your body, your choice.  Some possible oppositions to my perspective may be the questioning of whether or not it is ones ultimate decision.  Patients may want to end their suffering one day, but may want to continue fighting later on down the road.  Ultimately, as long as it is the patients decision then I support this practice.  Also medical professionals may not always have the right diagnosis or give the patient the accurate amount of time they have left to live.  Many oppositions to my perspective may value life over death.  In an article I read titled, “Should euthanasia or physican-assisted suicide be legal?” it stated that opponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide contend that doctors have a moral responsibility to keep their patients alive.  I disagree with these opposing views because these people aren’t in these suffering patients shoes.  The patients and their loved ones are hurting as well.  In order to not have a suffering society, euthanasia should be accessible and supported worldwide in order to avoid psychological and physical pain of patients and the world they effect around them.

Continuing to build on the principle of death, we must also support that the death penalty.  Just like abortion and euthanasia, I believe that death in this case results in the betterment of society as long as it is done in a peaceful manner. The third issue within this Topic Set that I will discuss is the death penalty. My perspective on this issue is that I am for capital punishment.  In order for a safe society to thrive I don’t think murderers should have the possibility of rehabilitation or accessibility to be on the streets again.  According to the New York Times, a high percentage of convicted killers kill again out of prison.  I ask myself is capital punishment moral?  I will defend capital punishment on the grounds that society has a moral obligation to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens. Murderers threaten this safety and welfare and only by putting murderers to death can society ensure that convicted killers do not kill again.  I believe that the death penalty is an appropriate consequence for ones actions which results in a safer society.  Although I believe death is necessary in this case, since there is room for the possibility of human error, I believe death is necessary but in a way that is peaceful since their is a possibility of existing innocent souls on death row that don’t deserve to suffer.  In class we talked about a man from Norway who murdered 77 innocent people with a bombing and shooting spree.  In the United Stated a terrorist act to this degree would have received the death penalty but since there is no death penalty in Norway, Anders Breivik will only serve 21 years in Norwegian prison, which includes living conditions of what appears to look like a dorm room.  In fact this prison system is majorly based on rehabilitation, something I clearly don’t agree will provide stability and safety for society.  This relates to my chosen Topic of death because death would be the consequence in this case that has a positive effect on society.  A life for a death or a death for a life. This issue relates to abortion because it is choosing “death” over life.  Some possible oppositions to my perspective may include the room for human error and the possibility of rehabilitation.  There are people who have been convicted guilty of murders that have been found innocent through DNA testing and false convictions.  I believe that our science is getting more advanced day by day and that appeals are being answered.  I don’t believe murderers are fit to go back into society through rehabilitation.  In order for a safer society for civilians, the death penalty is necessary but in a way that is peaceful since there is room for human error.

In order to enact that death is necessary but in a peaceful manner, abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty must be supported, and it follows that we should support animal rights as well.  The fourth issue I will discuss is animal rights.  I am against animal cruelty and believe that there should be stricter laws enforced regarding this issue.  Although I am aware that sometimes the death of animals may be necessary for the circle of life, I believe the treatment and death of animals should not be as cruel as it is today in society.  Production and money are ultimately chosen over the quality of life of animals and nature overall.  A great example I would like to share is Temple Grandin, who has become one of the top scientist in the humane handling of livestock on cattle ranches and slaughterhouses.  She revolutionized systems used to prepare cows for slaughter, as well as the design of the slaughterhouse themselves.  Even though she wasn’t fighting to stop the production, she fought to get rid of horrible and harsh conditions cattle don’t deserve.  Although death may be necessary for the circle of life, it should only be done in a way that is peaceful because animals are innocent souls that don’t deserve to suffer.  Us as human beings are part of the circle of life and are at the top of the food chain, which I don’t think makes us bad intentioned because it is human nature.  Although it is questionable whether or not animals are morally obligated to none but themselves and whether or not nature was put on this planet to become part of mass production in a slaughterhouse, I believe that for the betterment of society and to make the world go round the circle of life including the death of an animal is inevitable.  The reason I emphasize that death is sometimes necessary is because in the in class article by Kant, he talks about someone feeling bad if they destroy a creature for no reason, something I completely agree with.  If killing an animal is just out of pure cruelty with no reason such as a source of nutrition, then I think it is wrong.  Giving animals the right to a peaceful death relates to my point regarding euthanasia. When it comes to the point that an animal’s or a patient’s death is inevitable, they still do not deserve to suffer or die for no reason.   I think humans deserve the right of dying peacefully and the right over their own body, which brings me back to abortion. Even though our place at the top of the food chain may be necessary and our right, just like my point regarding the death penalty, there is still a possibility innocent souls that don’t deserve to suffer.

Regarding these four issues, abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty and animal rights, I would assert my claim that for the betterment of society death is sometimes necessary, but always in a peaceful manner.  Society has a moral obligation to keep society safe in a supportive manner.  Some people may value life over death, but it is important to realize that sometimes death is for the better.  In my opinion, the laws regarding the issue of abortion and euthanasia should be pro-choice.  When regarding capital punishment and animal rights I believe that death is necessary in these cases to make the circle of our society go round, but in a way that is peaceful due to the existence of innocent souls.  My perspective of death sometimes being necessary to result in the betterment of society, includes the safety and the rights we as a society deserve.  I believe the laws should be similar to what I personally believe because I have the moral obligation in my mind that reflects on the betterment of society.  In my opinion, some specific steps that could/should be taken by society includes continued protests by organizations advocating for not only individual but worldwide pro-choice regarding euthanasia and abortion, along with fighting for the peaceful deaths for everyone and anything deserves.  It is important to become critical of these issues in today’s society and fight for the positive future for all!

Sources regarding abortion: “A Defense of Abortion” Judith Jarvis Thomson, www.ncregister.com/un-harshly-critized-for-puching-abortion-in-peru

Sources regarding euthanasia:  “Is There a Duty to Die?” John Hardwig, http://euthanasia.procon.org/

Sources regarding the death penalty: “The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense”  Ernest Van Den Haag, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/opinion/death-penalty-new.html

Resources regarding animal rights: “On Duties to Animals” Immanuel Kant, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/arts/television/05grandin.html

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13 thoughts on “A Peaceful Death is Necessary

  1. When defending your position on abortion you state that a individual’s have no moral obligation to anyone but themselves. And here I agree with you because we don’t have access to a universal morality we can set a morality based on our own judgment . My question arises where you claim “society has a moral obligation to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens”. Society is composed of individuals, all with no moral obligation to anyone but themselves so how form this can you derive any moral obligation at all to a society composed of individuals with no moral obligation to anyone but themselves individually?

  2. You’ve made some great points regarding euthanasia. I find it bizarre how in some states, euthanasia is okay when you are putting down an animal, for example your dog. However, it is not okay to use euthanasia for a family member. Then, it would be considered unethical. Why? Many people, nowadays, see family pets as family members. When the doctor tell us that there is no hope and there is no chance of him or her recovering, the idea of putting down the dog is not bad. We don’t even hesitate. Yet, with a human, we can’t even imagine. How long do you think it’ll take for society to accept euthanasia? Or even consider it?

    • I agree completely agree with you on the idea of “your body, your choice.” As Ricardo stated on the earlier comment that everyone has a their own morality based on their own judgments, there is no better way then to allow people to make the decision themselves. Morals should not be pressed on to people, when dealing with a personal issue the only factors that should matter are your own morals and whether or not you can live with yourself after your choice. As for the animal rights, i believe that a peaceful death should be mandatory; they were raised for consumption and most likely didn’t have the best life however they should never suffer and go through pain, just as we wouldn’t want to suffer. For the death penalty however a part of me does not want them to have a peaceful death however for the betterment of society I do agree that it is necessary.

  3. You mention you believe it is wrong to kill an animal other than a source of food or experiment. In an extreme unrealistic case as seen in the article “Puppies, Pigs, and People.” He loves the taste of chocolate and can only enjoy the taste if he kills puppies. Would it be acceptable then? If you feel it is acceptable to kill an animal if it is a source of food do you think it is acceptable to kill a human as a source of food if you are stranded somewhere? Is there a difference between an animal and human life? If so what is the difference?
    ( Norcross, Alastair. “Puppies, Pigs, and People.” N.p.: n.p., n.d. 442-48. Print.)

  4. The questions you raise are interesting. I too would like to know where we stand on human vs. animal rights. In the past I have had this conversation with people and they at least in the circumstances I’ve encountered have tended to assert that humans are animals and we therefore have the same rights. I don’t believe this is so, for one thing many animals would not exist if it wasn’t for human interference and as the cause for life we should have a say over them. Since we are the reason many domesticated animals are alive then their lives depend on us and we are responsible for them therefore they have less right to life than we do.

    • {ricardoperez2} I can not speak for allysaavilez but personally I have a big heart for animals. I was indecisive with the topic of euthanasia until someone brought up putting down an animal. Then I couldn’t handle the topic because last year I had to put my bunny Mary Kay down. She was only a couple of months and had a strange disease we did not know about where she began to have sizers about every 15 mins. then they got closer and closer. The vet said her body could not handle it anymore and they could try to force feed her but she was too young and small there was very little chance she could handle it and they did not have the machines to help her. I decided to put her down by the vet’s suggestion. This broke my heart because I always have had a big heart for animal. I feel humans are corrupted easily and put a lot of bad energy in the world. While an animal is innocent and for the most part remain innocent. Also we do not know if they comprehend/ feel pain. We are obviously bigger, stronger and intelligent than most animals. Is this the only reason we feel we can over power them and decide their destiny?

      • Well personally, I also do have a big heart for animals. I have had pets all my life and putting my dog down after 17 years was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. To clarify my claim, I would like point out that I was a vegetarian for three years. My point is that in today’s society since the death of animals is inevitable, I believe that therefore it should be done in a peaceful, civil and humane way. Unfortunately, whatever way you look at it animals will always be under us on the bottom of the food chain. The question of whether they deserve to be there or not can arise, but in order to have a huge outcome in advocating for animal rights, you cannot first attack the impossible and have to start with the source. Whether innocent animals are placed in a loving home or are part of mass production in a slaughterhouse, they all still deserve the ultimate treatment which includes leaving this earth in a peaceful manner. Regarding animal rights, I believe that in certain cases sometimes death is necessary in today’s society, but as long as it is done in a way that is not harmful and peaceful, something our society is still working on till this day.

    • I’ve even heard an argument that we have an obligation to keep eating meat so that all those animals that we raise for meat will be able to live (even if for a short time). Those people say that without raising animals to eat, many fewer animals would ever get to live, so in order to support life (re: more living beings) we have to keep raising cattle, etc. What do you think of that argument?

  5. Great post. I agree with the stance you take on all four of the issues. I also believe that death is sometimes necessary if it for the betterment of society. I believe that abortion and euthanasia should be ultimately decided by the person directly affected by the choice that will be made. As outsiders, who are we to make decisions concerning their bodies? In regards to the death penalty, I also agree that society is better off putting capital murderers to death. They have a negative effect on society and in order to help keep other citizens safe they should be sentenced to death. Lastly, I agree that animal cruelty is a big issue in society today. Although the death of animal is sometimes necessary, the killing should be done in a humane way.

  6. In regards to your post I find myself in a minset where I can see how death in itself is a overall necessity for the future. Most times when others hear that it leads people to think that the individual saying it is heartless or cold and malicious. When in fact it is stating the actual cold hearted truth. Death is part of life and it is a continuous cycle that happens on the daily. Now, I still am on the fence about the death penalty in general but your post helped be evaluate things a bit more. Overall, your thoughts on death were interesting and controversial. Especially the thoughts on animal rights and how killing them is the proper thing to do in order to survive. As much as I love animals there is also some cold hard truth to that as well, though they do not deserve a cruel death, just as no human does either regardless of their cimes.

  7. I believe the reason behind why people are against the idea of Ethuanasia is because they are scared of death. Our whole society is afraid of dying and want to prolong living for as long as possible. But I think if we accept dying as something beautifully peaceful and natural then we wouldn’t be so against it. Death is truly inevitably and by the time we are days from death in old age we should be already content in letting go and if not well then your kinda outta time so. Once we change our view on death i think it will change or idea about euthanasia.

  8. Physician assisted suicide hits home with me. My second mom (auntie) owns a home health business and I was able to see first hand the reliance we have on our government. But that’s not all. I was able touch, talk, and understand the families that had a terminally ill family member amidst their residence. I scraped passed the sadness and emotional layers to find a basic common underlying statement. “This is not how they would have chosen to die.” Their choice of death is a slow arduous one filled with money making government schemes and business hounds dressed as nurses. I like that for your particular set topic, that you chose to be pro plug pulling. These people’s death may have been a more glorious (definitely shorter) one if there was some regulation. It opens us to think about death in our own shoes. I would want my plugged pull, would you?

  9. Euthanasia is a difficult subject for me. You’ve covered it well here. Quality of life is as important as quantity of life. I’ve not had to make that decision for a loved one, thank goodness. I did have an Uncle who was battling cancer. His cancer was discovered late in his life and after his body had been battling with it for some years. His health deteriorated quickly. He was in and out of the hospital several times during a month. He had 8 siblings but no children and no wife. The doctor asked his sister if she would consider at home hospice care and she agreed. Unfortunately she thought that meant he would get a doctor’s care from his home. It wasn’t until she asked the nurse for help and she replied, “I am here to keep him out of pain while he dies, not to help him live” that she understood what she had agreed to. In the end he laid in his bed unable to talk. He was given morphine for the pain and he slipped away in his sleep early one morning. Was this his decision? Is this what he would’ve wanted? We don’t know. I do know that his sister suffered with a tremendous amount of grief because of the decision she made. I suggest that you discuss your wishes with your loved ones so that if it becomes necessary to make that decision, they know what your preference would be.

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