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The controversy over euthanasia is based on the same ethical and social platform from which the debates for abortion and capitol punishment stem. These social dilemmas all revolve around the sanctity of life and how far government can go in making choices involving individual rights. Although the debate over euthanasia is just heating up in the American judicial system, the practice of assisted suicide has been around for centuries, Modern advances in medicine and technology have helped doctors in prolonging life. At the same time these advancements can also extend the dying process, which means that some patients could be living in unnecessary pain if there is no chance for recovery. This is why the debate over assisted suicide has recently become a large-scale controversy in the United States and all over the world.

The word euthanasia originated from the Greek language. The word itself translates literally to mean good-death . There are four different types of euthanasia. The most widely accepted of these four is passive euthanasia. Passive euthanasia involves withdrawing some form of support and letting nature take its course. Often the life support or food and water are removed and large amounts of morphine are given to the patient to relieve pain. The next type of

euthanasia is active euthanasia. This type of euthanasia takes place when a person requests action by another person to cause death. Active euthanasia is most commonly taken out injecting controlled substances into the patient. The third type of euthanasia is called physician-assisted suicide. The physician supplies the information and/or the means of committing suicide. The most famous American case of this is Dr. Kevorkian, who coined physician-assisted suicide with the term voluntary passive euthanasia . The final type of euthanasia is involuntary euthanasia, when a person is killed in opposition to their wishes, which is basically murder.


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