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Euthanasia: A personal choice of inalienable rights

Erin Moffet / Columnist

Many people associate euthanasia with a very negative thought of doctor's helping patients commit suicide. They do not understand there are two different types of euthanasia practices.

The first type is passive voluntary euthanasia and the second, more controversial type is called active voluntary euthanasia.

Passive voluntary euthanasia is when no actions are taken to keep a person alive, like when a ventilator is removed or a feeding tube is not inserted. This is commonly done when a patient has experienced severe brain damage.

When a person has been found to have severe brain damage or even to be brain dead, they are actually already gone. There is no reason to keep them alive artificially. To do so would be very selfish, disallowing the patients to end their pain and suffering. Causing them to be "dead" to everyone but stuck in a miserable state, leaving many people with no closure.

How can anyone be supportive of keeping a person who is already gone alive through false means?

And then there is the very controversial active voluntary euthanasia. This practice is when terminally ill patients, with the aid of a doctor, speed up the inevitable dying process.

This practice is debated over whether it is justified through a person's right to life, and within this right, the right to end that life with dignity.

Many believe that what this actually is doing is allowing suicide. But the people judging this action are not in the position of the terminally ill patients.

These people have no hope left and are left only with the knowledge that there health will continue to worsen, their quality of will continue to decline, and then after all the suffering they will inevitably die. Through euthanasia, it allows them to skip the suffering and die with dignity.

This decision should not be regulated by lawmakers who are healthy and do not understand the mindset of those who are determined terminally ill.

This decision is a personal one, protected by a person's right to privacy and right to live, and die, on his or her own terms.

The concern should be with living wills. These are when a person before becoming terminally ill or having brain damage, legally states there wishes if these conditions would occur.

This is where many people tell others whether they wish to have their life maintained artificially.

The more people understand about euthanasia, the more living wills will be made.

With these, people should be able to state that they wish to peacefully end their lives if they become terminally ill.

By stating this before the illness sets in, no one can say that the patient is incapacitated and not in the right state of mind to make the decision.

This should clear up any concerns that people are losing their lives against their will.

So to better implement this practice, it must be more widely practiced in order to spread awareness of what it actually is and the usage of implementing living wills.

This option is of essence to anyone who has ever watched a person suffer endlessly and wish to never have to go through the same thing.

Euthanasia is not wrong. It's a personal choice of how to have the best quality of life, whether it is through dying naturally, maintaining life artificially, or speeding up an inevitable terminal process.

The option should be allowed for people to make.

Contact Erin Moffet at opinions@elon.edu or 278-7247