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

By Ian Dowbiggin

Whereas it may well look that debates over euthanasia started with Jack Kervorkian, the perform of mercy killing extends again to historic Greece and past. In the United States, the controversy has raged for good over a century. Now, in A Merciful finish, Ian Dowbiggin deals the 1st full-scale old account of 1 of the main arguable reform activities in the US. Drawing on extraordinary entry to the data of the Euthanasia Society of the US, interviews with very important figures within the move at the present time, and flashpoint situations reminiscent of the tragic destiny of Karen Ann Quinlan, Dowbiggin tells the dramatic tale of the boys and girls who struggled through the 20th century to alter the nation's attitude--and its laws--regarding mercy killing. In tracing the historical past of the euthanasia flow, he records its intersection with different revolutionary social reasons: 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 fearful that "the correct to die" could 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 should be prolonged to folks with disabilities, handicapped newborns, subconscious geriatric sufferers, lifelong criminals, or even the bad. Justified or no longer, such fears have stalled the circulate, as a growing number of americans now desire larger end-of-life care than wholesale adjustments in euthanasia legislation. For a person attempting to come to a decision no matter if euthanasia deals a humane replacement to lengthy agony or violates the "sanctity of life," A Merciful finish offers attention-grabbing and much-needed ancient context.

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By the early 1880s a consensus had emerged that state schools for the retarded were primarily designed to keep them from reproducing. Physicians, relying on the now-discredited theory that “like begets like,” stressed both heredity and the high fertility of feebleminded girls. Incarceration and custodialism replaced rehabilitation. 66 The specter of spiraling costs to hospitalize the feebleminded, the insane, and other handicapped groups encouraged some Americans to broach the previously unmentionable idea of mercy killing the feebleminded and insane.

He had a solution ready. It is a solution you have heard before. . 68 However, when these minority views did surface, they were often couched in the language of Darwinism, eugenics, and the social benefits of taking such action. ”69 The years on either side of 1900 witnessed a flurry of interest in A Merciful End | 18 these types of eugenic euthanasia. In addition to W. ”70 Arguments such as these prompted a state representative in Ohio to introduce a bill, the first of its kind in American history.

Racial tensions mounted as discrimination against blacks became institutionalized throughout the South. W. 72 Amid this unsettling strife and acute hardship, Progressives worked diligently to improve conditions. Grounds for optimism could be found in medical researchers who were discovering the microbes responsible for infectious diseases. Vaccines for diphtheria and syphilis were developed. 73 Surgery was becoming safer and more successful. Public health measures improved sanitation and hygiene in America’s burgeoning urban areas.

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