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In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in the world

Timeline of disability rights in the United States - Wikipedia

Euthanasia, human rights and the law. May 2016. ISSUES PAPER

Nazi Persecution of the Mentally & Physically Disabled
The linchpin argument of euthanasia proponents concerns theright to die. They contend that the individual has certain rightsguaranteed under the law and the Constitution that allow themto choose when they can die. These rights are generally arguedfrom the standpoint of autonomy or self-determination, or fromthe constitutional right to privacy. Proponents contend that individualliberty is a fundamental constitutional guarantee, and that theright to privacy protects the right of an individual to chooseto die. Wolhandler (entire article) argues forcefully that theconstitutional right to privacy elucidated in Griswold v. Connecticutand expanded in Roe v. Wade, also applies to euthanasia;thus protecting the individual from the purview of the state ifthat person chooses assisted suicide or active euthanasia. Healso argues that the protection of the right to self determinationis the key to democracy and the social contract on which thisnation is built when he says:


Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population, played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States prior to its involvement in World War II.
Although active euthanasia is not legal in any United Statesjurisdiction, passive euthanasia is generally allowed at the requestof a "competent" individual. Because of this it is criticalto understand what constitutes competence.



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With a knowledge of the meaningful terms that will be involved,it is important to discuss the legal state of euthanasia in theUnited States today. As technology has placed more and more peopleon life sustaining devices in this country, the courts have hadto deal with several cases that pertain to euthanasia in a varietyof ways. This section of the paper is designed to review thosecases briefly and to assess how the rulings in those cases haveset the policy for the practice of euthanasia today.

Canada Legalizes Euthanasia, As High Court Passes …
A brief assessment of the cases described above indicates thatthe courts have essentially legalized voluntary passive euthanasia,finding justification to refuse or have medical treatment withheldin the constitutional right to privacy, the common law right ofself determination, or the more general concept of autonomy (Gifford,p. 1575-78). With regard to involuntary passive euthanasia, thecourts are generally supportive of the practice, but they havethe right to insist on a more stringent standard of evidence beforeapproving such procedures. The courts have generally employeda balancing test that weighs the patient's right to privacy andself determination against the interest of the state in preservinglife, the interests of potential third parties that might desirethat the patient continue to live, and the ethical image of themedical profession (Adams, et. al., p. 2022). In cases of assistedsuicide, some states have laws against the practice, the AMA forbidsit, most juries are refusing to find the actors guilty, and thecourts have yet to decide the question. Both voluntary and involuntaryactive euthanasia remain illegal.

Hitler's Speech Declaring War Against the United States

Perhaps the main reason that death has changed in western culturehas to do with advances in medicine and technology. Many of thediseases that have historically killed people are now no longera threat to most individuals. Medicine has made a variety of advancesin the treatment of diseases such as smallpox, tuberculosis, malaria,pneumonia, polio, influenza, and measles. People now rarely dieof such traditional causes. Life expectancy has risen to almost75 years in the United States.

Human medical experimentation in the United States: …

The movement to legalize active euthanasia has existed forquite some time. Initially popularized in Britain during the 19thcentury, it gained some adherents in the United States duringthe 1920's. It was the Nazi program of active euthanasia in the1930's and 40's that cast a pall of disrepute over the practicethat remains today. The revival of this movement today can largelybe attributed to the onset of the issues discussed at the beginningof this paper, and to the efforts of the Hemlock Society, a groupof individuals that actively promotes the right to "dignifieddeath." The Hemlock Society recently promoted ballot initiativesin both Washington and California that would have legalized activeeuthanasia in those states (Gifford, 1993). This revival of the"right to die" movement has led to hotly contested debateabout the practices of active euthanasia and physician assistedsuicide. This paper will attempt to encapsulate this debate bypresenting the arguments made by both opponents and supportersof these procedures. Since arguments made by both sides are usedin cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the generic term"euthanasia" is used for simplicity to suggest the conceptof "aided death" unless otherwise indicated. Those opposedto euthanasia and assisted suicide present a variety of argumentsin support of a ban.

Welcome to Exit (the Scottish Voluntary Euthanasia Society)

One step down the path toward euthanasia simply makes it thatmuch easier in the future to take further steps. This argumentis also referred to as the "wedge theory" or the "slipperyslope." One of the most outspoken opponents of euthanasia,University of Michigan professor of law Yale Kamisar, has articulateda three pronged attack that utilizes the wedge theory, the riskof abuse, and the risk of mistake. The proponents of the wedgetheory argue that