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One of the biggest controversies of this decade is euthanasia Euthanasia is killing killing in the name of compassion and mercy Euthanasia extends the license of state permitted killing when permitted it allows one human being to kill another Its advocates present euthanasia as a caring merciful humane act Its advocates employ a two-pronged strategy claiming 1 that it should be legalized by the legislature and 2 that it is a fundamental constitutional right There are four types of euthanasia voluntary and direct voluntary but indirect direct but involuntary and indirect and involuntary Voluntary and direct euthanasia is chosen and carried out by the patient Voluntary but indirect euthanasia is chosen in advance Direct but involuntary euthanasia is done for the patient without his or her request Indirect and involuntary euthanasia occurs when a hospital decides that it is time to remove life support People are killed in war self-defense and capital punishment All murder is wrong but not all killing is murder Hence euthanasia is not wrong simply because it is killing The whole issue is whether or not it is justified killing The burden of proof is on those who would say this particular killing of a human being is justified If deliberate killing takes place outside the context of self-defense the protection of others a justifiable war or capital punishment of a convicted criminal convincing constitutional evidence must be ushered to prove such a killing is nonetheless right In ancient Greece and Rome it was permissible in some situations to help others die For example the Greek writer Plutarch mentioned that in Sparta infanticide was practiced on children who lacked health and vigor Both Socrates and Plato sanctioned forms of euthanasia in certain cases Voluntary euthanasia for the elderly was an approved custom in several ancient societies Back in the 1970s the Karen Quinlan case was taken all the way up to the US Supreme Court The Court distinguished between committing suicide
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