Download A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America by Ian Dowbiggin PDF

By Ian Dowbiggin

Whereas it could appear that debates over euthanasia started with Jack Kervorkian, the perform of mercy killing extends again to old Greece and past. In the US, the talk has raged for good over a century. Now, in A Merciful finish, Ian Dowbiggin deals the 1st full-scale ancient account of 1 of the main debatable reform hobbies in the USA. Drawing on exceptional entry to the documents of the Euthanasia Society of the USA, interviews with vital figures within the stream this day, and flashpoint situations equivalent to the tragic destiny of Karen Ann Quinlan, Dowbiggin tells the dramatic tale of the boys and ladies who struggled through the 20th century to alter the nation's attitude--and its laws--regarding mercy killing. In tracing the heritage of the euthanasia move, he files its intersection with different revolutionary social explanations: women's suffrage, contraception, abortion rights, in addition to its uneasy pre-WWII alliance with eugenics. Such hyperlinks introduced euthanasia activists into fierce clash with Judeo-Christian associations who frightened that "the correct to die" may perhaps turn into a "duty to die." certainly, Dowbiggin argues that by means of becoming a member of a occasionally overzealous quest to maximise human freedom with a wish to "improve" society, the euthanasia stream has been dogged by means of the phobia that mercy killing might be prolonged to folks with disabilities, handicapped newborns, subconscious geriatric sufferers, lifelong criminals, or even the terrible. Justified or no longer, such fears have stalled the move, as increasingly more americans now want larger end-of-life care than wholesale alterations in euthanasia legislation. For someone attempting to make a decision no matter if euthanasia bargains a humane replacement to lengthy discomfort or violates the "sanctity of life," A Merciful finish presents attention-grabbing and much-needed old context.

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Extra resources for A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America

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A crisis in mainstream Protestant churches in the 1920s would spawn liberal trends and encourage various reform-minded Americans involved in the campaigns for eugenics, female suffrage, socialized medicine, world peace, and birth control to question their faith and flock to the euthanasia colors in the 1930s. The debate over euthanasia would reignite over a series of highly publicized suicides in the thirties and the founding of the Euthanasia Society of America in 1938, providing momentum that helped to sustain the fledgling movement in the teeth of sometimes fierce opposition through to the 1960s.

What often replaced faith in the old gods was a belief that truth was relative, itself a product of historical and natural process. In the Origin of Species and Descent of Man (1871) Darwin explained his theory of evolution according to natural selection, effectively demolishing the reigning school of “natural theology” in AngloAmerican biology. 36 Darwin instead argued that species were not independently created but were descended from a common ancestor. Species were modified throughout natural history because the fierce struggle for limited food supply weeded out the unfit individuals of a species and privileged the fit, which by surviving tended to pass on their favorable traits to offspring.

Under the law, Haiselden was guilty for failing to perform his duty as a doctor to save or preserve life, so the nation’s attorneys generally sided with the law and condemned Haiselden for violating the Bollinger baby’s constitutional right to life. The debate over Haiselden in the lay press was as diverse as the country itself. One St. Louis newspaper editorialized that Haiselden himself was a “moral defective,” but other papers praised him for his humane intentions and for trying to save society money by letting disabled infants die.

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