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Glucksberg vs. Washington

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 12:12 AM
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Glucksberg v. Washington

AKA: Compassion In Dying v. Washington

“Choosing death before dishonor is seen by some philosophers and ethicists as a rational reason to commit suicide.”   In the 1994 case of Glucksberg v. Washington (Otherwise acknowledged as Compassion In Dying v. The State Of Washington), Harold Glucksberg, alongside the right-to-die organization Compassion In Dying, filed a suit in opposition to the state of Washington for three fatally ill patients he treated.

Dr. Glucksberg and “Compassion in Dying” set their case saying that the ban against doctor-assisted suicide was violating the right patients right of due process and placed an unjustified burden on terminally ill patients who required help to stop suffering misery from the disease that plagued their body and/or mind.

While the case was in the state of Washington, it was seen in the plaintiff’s favor: Dr. Harold Glucksberg and Compassion In Dying. Because of this the state laws changed in support of doctor-assisted suicide. The state of Washington still opposed the idea of this so they ordered an appeal.

By 1997 the case, along with another case, (Quill v. Vacco), reached the Supreme Court. The decision in the Supreme Court did not, however, meet up to the original case. The defense won the trial.

The case had a many important questions to it. In one question: is physician-assisted suicide morally, ethically, legally correct, and/or fair to anyone?

Ethically Correct? “One ought not to commit an act of euthanasia because it is unjust in the sense of punishing someone when no punishment is due.”

This quote was used because it brings up another question. Why do people disagree with the euthanasia procedure? The reason for this lies in ethics. Of most religions people practice, death is thought to be the worst punishment possible. If death is the worst punishment, then suicide is thought to...


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