Taylor and Asha Michigan


What is euthanasia, and the controversy behind it referring to humans.

Dear future president,

Should we allow euthanasia? In short, euthanasia is an act of putting an individual who is in sever pain and suffering to rest. However, there are different types of euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is defined as the withdrawal of life sustaining treatment(s). This would be like “pulling the plug” on a patient. Active euthanasia is an instance where lethal substances are used to end one’s life. This should not be confused with assisted suicide: the act of someone encouraging or directly helping another take his or her life. Active euthanasia is the patient's own decision, which leads us into voluntary euthanasia: the patient’s own decision to end their life. Non-voluntary euthanasia is an instance where a patient is unable to make the decision so, similar to passive euthanasia, a family member may make the decision for them. Finally, there is involuntary euthanasia, where a person is killed despite his or her own wishes. This would be classified as murder.

This leads to a vital point: is euthanasia murder? If consent is given is it ok to take one’s life in a medical situation?

There are two main opinions revolving around the topic of euthanasia. Some “Individuals are torn by religious, moral, ethical and compassionate arguments surrounding the issue.” Many see euthanasia as a struggle between good and bad which, in turn, becomes a philosophical topic. “The English medical word ‘euthanasia’ comes from the Greek word eu meaning ‘good,’ and the Greek word thanatos meaning "death” (Nordqvist 1). Is good keeping someone alive for the sake of living, or, is good ending suffering at the cost of one’s life?

We already do this with our beloved pets when they are in suffering. No one wants to see any other living thing suffer. Quality of life is valuable.

Euthanasia is a topic that should be talked about more because of it’s life changing aspects. The Karen Ann Quinlan Case (1970’s) is a U.S., revolving around Quinlan being in a vegetative state but, despite her and her families wishes, was not able to have the plug pulled. The family filed a lawsuit, and “Quinlan's case paved the way for legal protection of voluntary passive euthanasia” (Nordqvist 2). Euthanasia revolves around one’s quality of life. Because of this case, many people’s lives have been changed dramatically, and perhaps even for the better.

Yours truly,

Asha Huff and Taylor Quillinan

Okemos High School

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