Statement: “Our current acceptance of a right to die, especially for those who are unconscious and need a proxy decision maker, is a rather slippery slope that may, in the future, be used not to protect individual autonomy or privacy but rather to serve as a facade to rid us of individuals whose lives we do not value.” .
Euthanasia is defined as the act or the practice of killing or allowing the death of extremely sick or injured individuals by using a relatively painless method for the sole purpose of mercy . Eighteenth century has seen the tolerance to suicide and the respect for the right of individuals to choose how they would die . By the end of the eighteenth century, efforts were initiated over the battle to legalize euthanasia in certain countries .
History has recorded that Euthanasia has been misused essentially as a means to get rid of individuals who are not of much value to the modern society. The darkest time period in the history of Euthanasia involved German Eugenics program of 1920s and 1930s under which the elected political party through a Euthanasia program committee started annihilating those lives which they found unworthy of living . The people who were considered unworthy of live were the people who were perceived as a burden on the state which included physically handicapped individuals, mentally retarded and weak individuals who were unable to take care of themselves . Between the year 1939 and 1941 as many as 100000 of Germans were killed by the authorities . Similarly, in the year 1996, Austrian physicians based a similar criteria for selecting children for scientific experiments and hundreds of individuals were put to death in the name of scientific experiments .
In the light of the above historical events, it is not advisable to blindly accept the right to die and the authorities need to ensure and devise ethical practices ad mechanisms to ensure that the right to die is not misused under any circumstances and the right to die or Euthanasia is exercised only on genuine medical, ethical and legal grounds.
Cavan, S. (2000). Euthanasia: The Debate Over the Right to Die. USA: The Rosen Publishing Group.
Last Rights: The Struggle Over the Right to Die. (2001). NY: Da Capo Press.
Riley, M. (2010, January 18). Right to Die v. Social Cleansing. Retrieved from Health Technica : http://www.healthtechnica.com/blogsphere/2010/01/18/right-to-die-v-social-cleansing/