Death is the most powerful, unavoidable, necessary force that exists in our world. Although terrible in a lot of situations, tearing families apart and causing much grief, death is a force that can better our society as a whole. Sometimes death is required in situations like abortions, euthanasia, and war to benefit society as a whole.
Abortion uses death in a necessary manner to allow women the right to choose what happens to their body. The controversy over abortion is whether or not women should have the right to choose to terminate their own pregnancy. Some people believe that abortion is a murder, and they shouldn’t take place because the baby has the right to live over the mother. They believe that the mother has a moral obligation to the embryo to sacrifice her body for their future child’s life. I believe that women should have the right to choice, and that you have an obligation to yourself and not to the embryo. In the situation of abortion I believe that bodily integrity is the most beneficial to society. A woman should have the right of bodily integrity, but at a certain point so does the fetus, when the embryo has developed into the features of a child then the pregnancy has gone to terminate. I believe that the woman should have the right to abort up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy, because by then the baby could sustain itself out side of the womb, and adoption should be their only option to revoke responsibility as a parent. Conflict arises when people have different morals and try to impose their morals onto other, giving people the right to choice over their own bodies allows for each individual to follow their own morals. Any fertile woman is capable of having a child; however it takes more than the ability to have a child to raise it. In an article published in 2001 by John Donohue and Steven Levitt, these social scientists stated that when abortion was legalized in 1970, eighteen years after this law passed crime rates dropped significantly because unwanted children that would potentially be more exposed to gangs and crime were no longer being born. Along with the decreased crime, abortions provide a safe way for women to stop pregnancy instead of illegal home procedures with fatal consequences. In the reading “A Defense of Abortion,” by Judith Jarvis Thomson, she opens her argument of killing an innocent human being is not always wrong by showing an example. Thomson example was a hypothetical situation symbolizing abortion where she asks you to imagine yourself in a position where you have been kidnapped and you wake up in a hospital connected though machines to a professional violinist. The violinist cannot live on his own, Thomson goes on saying that you might allow the violinist to use your body out of kindness, however you are not obligated to do so and you may rightfully pull the plug on him if you choose. I agree with Thomson’s view on abortion, a woman does don’t have an obligation to the fetus, she could allow the fetus to use her body out of kindness however she has the right to abort. Abortions benefit society in more ways than allowing people to act upon their own morals, they reduce the numbers of unwanted children and therefore reducing the affects that happen when a child is born unwanted and uncared for.
Much like abortion, euthanasia is a controversial issue dealing with choices between life or death. Euthanasia is a direct choice to death. Some people view the choice to kill themselves as a mental illness, and in some cases it’s true; however, I believe that for the greater good of society euthanasia should be legal. People have the right to their body in health reasons. Not everyone in any state of mind should be able to euthanize themselves, if a person is not diagnosed with any illness wants to be euthanized their mental state should be checked and help should be given to them, however if after they still don’t want to live, they have the right to die. If euthanasia wasn’t offered to them they would most likely still find a way to kill themselves. Death is feared by many, the fear of the unknown and the uncontrollable. Being able to control your death would set ease to many people. Euthanasia allows people to have a good death, at the time they want. If a person is terminally ill and in severe pain and suffering they should have the right to control the manner in which they die. According to Exit International, they believe a peaceful death is everybody’s right, so far euthanasia is legal for terminally ill patients or patiens with no hope in Oregon, Washington, and soon to be Montana. They cannot control their body with regards to the illness, however they should be able to control the way they die. Along with a terminal illness, I believe that if a person has pre-decided that if they were ever to be on life support with a slim to no chance to ever come out of it the same person they were then their medical guardian should have the right to euthanize them. Euthanasia is for the betterment of society, the money spent on trying to keep them alive without suffering could be better spent, along with the resources being used by them could be better invested and used. In John Hardwig’s essay, “From Is There a Duty to Die,” he talks about the being a burden to love ones and how nobody ever wants to put a strain on the people they love. Although death is very sad in some situation where a person is completely dependent on others feels they have become a burden to the ones they love and would like to be euthanized they should have the right to, it would bring them happiness knowing their loved ones could live their life not having to worry and stress out because of them. Death dealing with abortions and euthanasia should consider the quality of life, the quality of life for the mother and the child if the baby were to be born and the quality of life a terminally ill patient. Abortion and euthanasia greatly affects the quality of life of the human that died, however it also benefits the quality of life of the people around them. When death brings more joy then living I believe a person should have the right to die as they choose. Both abortion and euthanasia uses death for the betterment of society, if a person doesn’t want to live anymore who are we to force them to?
In regards to abortion and euthanasia death is based on the right of bodily integrity and it is a choice that controls the manner in which death occurs, however in war soldiers give up their right to bodily integrity and the manner in which they die. In today’s society war is inevitable, and with war comes death. For the greater good of society death must be allowed in war, it benefits society in the aspect of security and power. Death in war between soldiers is not right; however it is also not wrong. When a person becomes a soldier they are aware that there is a possibility they might die for their country, and therefore they give up their rights of bodily integrity forfeiting their choice of how they die. In war, the only deaths that are morally alright are the deaths between soldiers or in self defense from civilians that attack, however the death of innocent civilians is wrong. The innocent civilians did not choose to go to war, and did not choose to be put in harm’s way and killing them is wrong. In BBC’s “In an ethical war, whom can you fight?” it states the general rule as “it is unjust to attack non-combats” and “it is unjust to attack indiscriminately, as non-combats may be killed,” which parallels my view on attacking civilians. According to the Civil War Casualties, more American lives were lost during the civil war than any other war, they died for a reason they died fighting for what they believed in. Their deaths were necessary for the betterment of our country; it took force in order for progress and death was unavoidable. Unlike abortion and euthanasia, for the most part death in war is unwanted and doesn’t bring joy, however like abortion and euthanasia death is necessary for the betterment for the overall betterment of society.
Death is not only necessary in the cycle of life but in some situations it is necessary for the betterment of society. Abortion, euthanasia, and war are circumstances where it is better for society if people die. Everybody has the right to do with their body as they please, in abortion women should have the right to choose if they want their body to support the fetus, in euthanasia people should have the right to choose if they want to die, while in war soldiers have forfeit their right to choose if they want to die or how they die. Death is feared and will come to all of us, it is something that nobody is exempt from.
“Civil War Trust.” Civil War Casualties. Civil War, n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.
“Death with Dignity in Oregon, Washington & (soon to Be) Montana.” Euthanasia and the Law in the United States of America. Exit, n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.
“In an Ethical War, Whom Can You Fight?” BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.
Donohue, John J., III, and Steven D. Levitt. “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime.”The Quarterly Journal of Economics CXVI.2 (2001): 380-420. Web.