By Raymond A. Whiting

Whereas different books care for the modern factor of the suitable to die, no try has been made to illustrate considerably the old nature of this question past the borders of the USA. Whiting demonstrates that the proper to die controversy stretches again greater than thousand years, and he explains how present attitudes and practices within the U.S. were inspired through the felony and cultural improvement of the traditional western global. this angle permits the reader to appreciate not just the origins of the talk, but additionally different views that every age has contributed to the continued debate.Whiting discusses the advance of criminal rights inside either western tradition and the us, then applies those advancements to the query of the ideal to die. In an atmosphere of public debate that includes such emotional occasions because the exploits of Jack Kevorkian, the book of the way to suicide manuals, and the counterattacks of correct to lifestyles teams, the USA is left with only a few thoughts.

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Although similar legislation had failed both in Washington and California, public opinion polls showed that 60% of Oregon's citizens supported the proposal for allowing physician-assisted suicide. The legislation, known as Measure 16 or the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, proposed allowing doctors to provide terminally ill patients with a prescription for lethal doses of medication, provided two doctors agree that the patient has less than six months to live, that the patient has clearly rejected every alternative, and that three requests for such assistance have been made, the last of which is in writing (New York Times, 16 October 1994, A18).

To the contrary, the issue of euthanasia and the controversies surrounding it are inextricably linked with the development of technology. Without both the sufficient development of a nation's technological base and a high economic standard for its citizenry, the issue of euthanasia simply never arises. Within technologically underdeveloped countries, opportunity for artificially prolonging life rarely presents itself. Without the prerequisite technology, the controversy over artificially prolonging the existence of a dying patient is eliminated.

Kevorkian chose to call no witnesses and presented no evidence to contradict or challenge the prosecution's case. After only half a day of testimony from prosecutorial witnesses, the jury heard closing 34 A Natural Right to Die arguments and adjourned to deliberate. Not surprisingly, Dr. Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder (New York Times, 26 March 1999, A14). At Dr. Kevorkian's sentencing hearing, the widow and the brother of the terminally ill man he was convicted of killing made passionate appeals to the judge for leniency, but to no avail.

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