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Why America Is scared to talk about

Emmanuel Avila
There is little doubt that euthanasia is a
taboo subject in the United States. We claim our country has a separation of church and state, but
if we are going to be real with ourselves this country is very much one grounded in religion.
According to Christianity it is a mortal sin to commit suicide. One that automatically condemns
the individual’s soul to hell. That has not stopped some states from enacting pro euthanasia
legislation. Oregon is one such state, making it legal for an individual to hasten ones death with
drugs prescribed by a physician (Lopes, 2015, p. 1). I for one, say bravo to you Oregon. When
did we become so arrogant that we believe it is okay for us to dictate how another lives their life.
Do not get me wrong, I understand that there is a thin line between wanting the ability to make
one’s own decisions, and spiraling out of control into things such as alcohol dependency and
drug abuse. In those situations then yes it imperative that we step in. But, that is not what we are
discussing here. What I am in favor of is the right for someone who is waging a losing battle
against a deadly illness to have the right to choose how their life ends. The whole argument
against euthanasia is the idea of the sanctity of life (Yuill, 2013, p. 30). It is easy for someone to
stand on their pulpit and yell that all life is precious, and should be fought for when they have
never been trapped in the prison that is a sick body. I am sure that most people have watched
someone they have loved battle and succumb to illness. But let me tell you something, it is a
vastly different thing to be the one laying in that hospital bed. When your body turns on you it is
a prison that you cannot escape from. I myself battled a serious illness that almost took my life.

Did I fight it? Yes. Am I still glad to be here? Yes. But, I can tell you right now that if the grim
reaper came knocking again I might make a very different choice. So what is it that makes
Americans so scared to address the notion of euthanasia? I believe the issue lies much deeper
than just the moral and religious implications. Humans, to the last one of us, do not like the idea
of being wrong. If it became socially acceptable for someone who is terminally ill to end their
lives early instead of suffering till the bitter end, than that means people would have to change
their very understanding of religion, suicide, and the idea that maybe everything they were taught
is not true. One thing people hate more than being wrong is being told that their precious religion
had it wrong. Ego is the real enemy of change, and Americans definitely have the biggest egos of
them all.

Lopes, G. (2015). Dying with dignity: A legal approach to assisted death. Santa Barbara, CA:
Yuill, K. (2013). Assisted suicide: The liberal, humanist case against legalization. Sunderland,
UK: University of Sunderland.

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