Euthanasia, is the correct term for mercy killing. It is the practice of ending a life in order to release an individual from an incurable disease or from unbearable suffering. There are three forms of euthanasia, voluntary, passive and active. Voluntary euthanasia is when an individual who is dying, or the individuals’ legal representative makes the request. Passive euthanasia, is when nothing is done to prevent the death, or in other words, allowing the individual to die. Active euthanasia is when action is taken with the intent to cause the individuals death. Western laws consider the act of assisting someone to die, a form of homicide that is subject to legal sanctions. Even when passive euthanasia is implemented the punishment has still been quiet severe. Even with harsh punishments however, euthanasia, still occurs secretly in all modern societies, including those where it is considered immoral and illegal.
However there are many who are pro-euthanasia and feel that people have the "right to die". The movement has received great support and there are laws passed in 40 states which legally allow competent individuals to make "living wills". These “living wills”, allow these individuals to instruct doctors to withhold life-support systems if they become terminally ill. Because of this the medical profession has generally been caught in the middle of the social controversies of euthanasia. The government, along with religious groups as well as medical professionals agrees that doctors are not required to use "extraordinary means" to extend the life of terminally ill individuals. But then the question of what defines extraordinary means is left in question and is usually left up to the discretion of the individuals’ family.
Advances in modern technology such as respirators and kidney machines, have made it possible to keep individuals alive for long periods of time even when they are permanently unconscious or have permanent brain...