The issue regarding euthanasia of incurable, suffering patients has been the reason for debates for a long time. The ethical difficulty of this issue is that the process of euthanasia goes out of the margins of the physician's professional responsibilities. Therefore, sharp disagreements continue, and the question whether euthanasia should be legalized or not is still an actual topic of debates. In addition, recent laws adopted in Oregon initiated the actualization of the euthanasia legalization tendency. In this regard, the major ethical and moral issues should be studied in more detail in order to determine whether euthanasia should be legalized in the state of California.
Today, in the USA, euthanasia is legally supported by four states only, namely Oregon, Vermont, Montana, and Washington. California refers to other 46 states, which laws prohibit assisted suicide. California laws on the euthanasia state that every person, which is deliberately encouraging or advising another person to commit assisted suicide, is impeached for a felony. However, in California, the concept of passive euthanasia is widely spread. Passive euthanasia means the withdrawal of medical treatment with the purpose of natural death acceleration, i.e. the fight for the patient's life is stopped.
Nonetheless, there is not a significant difference between euthanasia and passive euthanasia because the result is the same, though the processes are different. Moreover, passive euthanasia is even more inhumane and makes the patient suffer even more. Therefore, if passive euthanasia is morally and legally allowed, the state of California should legalize an active euthanasia as well since it is even less anguished. According to the laws, patients in California have to ask a physician for passive euthanasia orally two times with the interval of two weeks, and the last request should be performed in written form. However, it cannot be applied if the patient is seriously ill and unconscious because he or she has no ability to act adequately physically and mentally. In this regard, the right to ask for euthanasia should be legalized for the patient's caretaker or relatives.
According to surveys conducted by American marketing research companies in 2010, more than a half of adult American citizens support the right of terminally ill people with intense pain syndrome of voluntary quietus with the assistance of a doctor. Thus, it should be stated that people who are on the end stage of their illness, suffer from continuous pain and have no prospects of recovery, have to obtain the legal right of euthanasia. Besides, the surveys showed that 58 percent of the participants supported the idea that the doctor's help in the patient's quietus should be legally allowed.
According to the fact that each person has an intrinsic right of death, they should also have a right to choose its time and means. Moreover, each person has a right to manage his or her own life and death since the death is an inherent part of life itself. Doctors should be also permitted by the law to provide the patient with the information on euthanasia methods because people have a right to be informed. Thus, assisted suicide should be legally allowed in order to maintain the basic human rights.
Taking into account all abovementioned information, it should be noted that the issue of euthanasia performance is not solved completely yet. This issue should be solved by current generation if people really want to consider themselves free to choose a lifestyle and the way of death. In spite of constant debates, euthanasia helps to alleviate sufferings of terminally ill patients, and this fact shows that physician-assisted suicide is a correct choice in moral terms. Therefore, euthanasia should be totally legalized in California, especially as the first steps had been already made, i.e. legalization of passive euthanasia.
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