Essay on Euthanasia: The Right For Death

There are two experiences that all people on earth share. The first being the day we’re born and the second the day we die. Death can impact your family and friends but what you do in life is what matters. Some people can have such an impact that they are dubbed a hero. There are many definitions of a hero, Robert F. Kennedy’s definition is “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”. An example of this type of hero is Dr.Jack Kevorkian, a hero who helped those in life to death. Jack Kevorkian stood up for the terminally ill, held non-violent resistance in prison for his beliefs and helped to pave the way for physician-assisted suicide which make him the model hero. 

In the end who wants to struggle, not knowing if they are going to live till tomorrow. Jack believed that “Everyone has the right to what they want with their body” (Kevorkian Interview). Kevorkian was an advocate for physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia. According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia the definition of euthanasia is “either painlessly putting to death or failing to prevent death from natural causes in cases of terminal illness or irreversible coma.”. Watching a loved one die can be emotionally painful for them but who wants to also watch them suffer. Euthanasia is a more humane way of dying without enduring agony.  He also talked about “. . . the establishment of professionally staffed and well equipped “suicide centers” for the sole purpose of assuring a humane and painless death for all who need and desire it. The time has come to . . . make the quantum leap of supplementing merciful killing with the enormously positive benefit of experimentation and organ donation.” (Smith).  Jack wanted to help with the shortage of donors and believed to have found an adequate solution. He believed that people suffer in the end and stood up for those who couldn’t because of their severe illnesses. 

What would you do for your beliefs? Would you protest or riot? Jack Kevorkian had such strong beliefs on Physician-assisted suicide that he went to prison on multiple accounts. The first two in November and December of 1993 “on charges that he had violated the state’s law against assisting in a suicide.  “ (Britannica).  In both of these cases he was released from jail for hunger strikes. According to Cambridge Dictionary the definition of a hunger strike is “a period when someone such as a prisoner refuses to eat, usually to show strong opposition to something”. He liked to protest what he called  “this immoral law” (Britannica). The immoral law he is referring to is the laws against assisted suicide. He stood trial again in 1996 and found not guilty which they believed was because “ a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine implied his cause had public support. “ (UXL). 

In November of 1998 Kevorkian was charged “after the news program 60 Minutes aired footage of Kevorkian administering a lethal injection to a patient suffering from Lou Gehrig disease” (Britannica). A year later he stood for his fifth trial and was convicted for ten to twenty-five years in prison on second-degree murder charges. After eight years in jail he was “released on parole in June 2007 after promising he would not assist in any more suicides or or provide care for anyone who was disabled or older than sixty-two years old.” (Britannica). Kevorkian went the miles for what he believed in. He was convicted and even after being released he said I wouldn't have started if I thought I was going to regret it. I knew what I was stepping into. I knew I was getting into one of the most illegal things in the world. It was the right thing to do. ... That doesn't mean I'm stronger than most people. It just means I'm loonier." (Kevorkian Interview). Other things he did after being released included “given lectures at several universities...unsuccessful bid as a candidate for the U.S. Congress in Michigan's 9th Congressional District… Kevorkian also has had two books published since his release from prison.” (Britannica). Kevorkian fully believed in all the decisions he made and life and had no regrets. He believed that everyone has the right to die in whichever way the deem fit and stood by it. 

On june 3rd of 2011 Kevorkian passed away but his legacy lived on. Since his death laws have changed and been made because of his work and belfis. Dubbed as “Dr.Death” (Decesare) his saying gets turned into an act. On November 4th, 2008 “Washington's initiative, the Death with Dignity Act, is passed with 57.91% of voters in favor.” (Physician-Assisted Suicide Fast Facts). This is just one of the many acts and bills like this passed + of him. Places like California, Massachusetts and hawaii get similar laws. When a governor was decided to pass the bill in california he said "I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill."(  physician-Assisted Suicide Fast Facts.). This shows how Kevorkian's advocating was able to persuade people's beliefs. He helped to create laws for those who couldn’t fight anymore battles. 

Jack Kevorkian was a hero because he stood up for the rights of the terminally ill. He believed that every person should have control over their body and fought for those beliefs till the day he died. He inspired others to stand up for this cause. When they said he couldn’t he did what he had to do even if it meant incarceration. When everyone else called him crazy or a murderer he didn't falter. For these reason Jack Kevorkian is a hero based on Robert F. Kennedys definition of one.



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