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Ian Dowbiggin's A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America PDF

By Ian Dowbiggin

ISBN-10: 0195154436

ISBN-13: 9780195154436

ISBN-10: 0195184130

ISBN-13: 9780195184136

Whereas it could possibly appear that debates over euthanasia all started with Jack Kervorkian, the perform of mercy killing extends again to old Greece and past. In the United States, the controversy has raged for good over a century. Now, in A Merciful finish, Ian Dowbiggin bargains the 1st full-scale historic account of 1 of the main debatable reform activities in the United States. Drawing on unparalleled entry to the data of the Euthanasia Society of the US, interviews with vital figures within the circulate this present day, and flashpoint situations resembling the tragic destiny of Karen Ann Quinlan, Dowbiggin tells the dramatic tale of the lads and girls who struggled in the course of the 20th century to alter the nation's attitude--and its laws--regarding mercy killing. In tracing the heritage of the euthanasia flow, he files its intersection with different innovative social motives: 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 anxious that "the correct to die" could develop 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 via the terror that mercy killing will 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 flow, as an increasing number of americans now favor larger end-of-life care than wholesale alterations in euthanasia legislation. For someone attempting to come to a decision no matter if euthanasia deals a humane substitute to lengthy anguish or violates the "sanctity of life," A Merciful finish offers interesting and much-needed historic context.

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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. ” The state legislature voted to send the bill to committee, where it died.

93 But Haiselden was an excellent example of how genuinely humane motives could co-exist with explicitly social and illiberal aims in the minds of euthanasia proponents. By 1915, he had lost faith in the custodial segregation of the mentally retarded, claiming that anything was better than letting children such as the Bollinger boy grow up and be housed in deplorable conditions. This helps to explain why he, a lifelong bachelor, adopted two daughters. He saw himself rescuing them from the wards of the nation’s charity institutions.

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. 67 Anticipating the intimate links between eugenics and euthanasia that would materialize in later years, a handful of Americans and Europeans began to ponder openly who should not be born and who was better off dead. In 1888, a delegate to the National Conference on Charities and Corrections revealed that, when he asked an unnamed Harvard-trained Boston physician, “what shall be done with this problem of the feebleminded?

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

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