Read e-book online 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 appear that debates over euthanasia begun with Jack Kervorkian, the perform of mercy killing extends again to historical Greece and past. In the USA, the controversy has raged for good over a century. Now, in A Merciful finish, Ian Dowbiggin bargains the 1st full-scale ancient account of 1 of the main debatable reform hobbies in the US. Drawing on exceptional entry to the data of the Euthanasia Society of the United States, interviews with very important figures within the move at the present time, and flashpoint situations similar to the tragic destiny of Karen Ann Quinlan, Dowbiggin tells the dramatic tale of the lads and girls who struggled during the 20th century to alter the nation's attitude--and its laws--regarding mercy killing. In tracing the background of the euthanasia circulation, 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 frightened that "the correct to die" could develop into a "duty to die." certainly, Dowbiggin argues that by way of becoming a member of a occasionally overzealous quest to maximise human freedom with a wish to "improve" society, the euthanasia circulate has been dogged by way of the terror that mercy killing might be prolonged to people with disabilities, handicapped newborns, subconscious geriatric sufferers, lifelong criminals, or even the negative. Justified or now not, such fears have stalled the circulation, as progressively more american citizens now desire greater end-of-life care than wholesale adjustments in euthanasia legislation. For someone attempting to make a decision even if euthanasia bargains a humane substitute to lengthy ache or violates the "sanctity of life," A Merciful finish presents attention-grabbing and much-needed ancient context.

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Additional info for A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America

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Even an adamant libertarian such as Ingersoll was guilty of saying who did and did not deserve to live. Ingersoll’s views resembled those of Felix Adler, in 1891 the first prominent American to openly endorse suicide for the chronically ill. Adler, like Ingersoll, welcomed the appeal to recast conventional religious ethics and morality. He did so by fashioning a new and nondogmatic approach to religion that, in emphasizing ethics over doctrine, echoed Ingersoll’s adamantly secular approach to moral conduct.

Discontent with the economy motivated 900,000 Americans to vote for socialist Eugene Debs in 1912. Dissatisfaction with the lack of women’s rights drove thousands of suffragettes to campaign for the vote. 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.

Eugenics in America was not limited to debates among biologists A Merciful End | 16 about social policy. Its cultural meaning extended far beyond the science of genetics to encompass public health concerns such as diet, exercise, parenting, pediatrics, and personal hygiene. Although self-styled “serious” eugenicists disliked its popularization, evident in “better baby contests” and “eugenic” movies and stage dramas about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, the fact that eugenics had spread to the mainstream of American life testified to its powerful resonance as a weapon in the campaign to improve the nation’s public health.

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

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