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Does right to choose mean right to kill?

A discussion about choices regarding life and death? To what extent should parents be able to choose if a child lives or dies? To what extent should the government have the right to decide who lives or dies? Can a parent choose to end the life of a child if the parent determines that the child's quality of life is unacceptable? Is euthenasia an option that should always be available? If not, then who should make the final call in matters of life and death?

1. Do you agree with the decision made in the Baby Theresa case? Why or why not? Make sure that you address the issues and explain your position.

Teresa Ann Campo Pearson, an infant known to the public as "Baby Theresa", was born in Florida in 1992. Baby Theresa had anencephaly, one of the worst genetic disorders. Anencephalic infants are sometimes referred to as "babies without brains," and this gives roughly the right picture, but it is not quite accurate. Important parts of the brain, "the cerebrum and cerebellum" are missing, as is the top of the skull. There is, however, a brain stem, and so autonomic functions such as breathing and heartbeat are possible. In the United States, most cases of anencephaly are detected during pregnancy, and the fetuses are usually aborted. Of those not aborted, half are stillborn. About 350 are born alive each year, and they usually die within days.
"Baby Theresa's" story is remarkable only because her parents made an unusual request. Knowing that their baby would die soon and could never be conscious, Theresa's parents volunteered her organs for transplant. They thought her kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, and eyes should go to other children who could benefit from them. Her physicians agreed. Thousands of infants need transplants each year, and there are never enough organs available. But the organs were not taken, because Florida law forbids the removal of organs until the donor is dead. By the time Baby Theresa died, nine days later, it was too late for the other children --- her organs had deteriorated too much to be harvested and transplanted.

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A discussion about choices regarding life and death? To what extent should parents be able to choose if a child lives or dies? To what extent should the government have the right to decide who lives or dies? Can a parent choose to end the life of a child if the parent determines that the child's quality of life is unacceptable? Is euthenasia an option that should always be available? If not, then who should make the final call in matters of life and death?

1. Do you agree with the decision made in the Baby Theresa case? Why or why not? Make sure that you address the issues and explain your position.

Teresa Ann Campo Pearson, an infant known to the public as "Baby Theresa", was born in Florida in 1992. Baby Theresa had anencephaly, one of the worst genetic disorders. Anencephalic infants are sometimes referred to as "babies without brains," and this gives roughly the right picture, but it is not quite accurate. Important parts of the brain, "the cerebrum and cerebellum" are missing, as is the top of the skull. There is, however, a brain stem, and so autonomic functions such as breathing and heartbeat are possible. In the United States, most cases of anencephaly are detected during pregnancy, and the fetuses are usually aborted. Of those not aborted, half are stillborn. About 350 are born alive each year, and they usually die within days.

"Baby Theresa's" story is remarkable only because her parents made an unusual request. Knowing that their baby would die soon and could never be conscious, Theresa's parents volunteered her organs for transplant. They thought her kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, and eyes should go to other children who could benefit from them. Her physicians agreed. Thousands of infants need transplants each year, and there are never enough organs available. But the organs were not taken, because Florida law forbids the removal of organs until the donor is dead. By the time Baby Theresa died, nine days later, it was too late for the other children --- her organs had deteriorated too much to be harvested and transplanted.

No, I don't agree with the Florida law. Since it is the law it must be obeyed or anarchy would result. However, it should be changed to allow the parents to make decisions like these. Factors to take into account are: the child had no chance of surviving so you are not exchanging one life for another, many children, who are otherwise possibly condemned to death, will benefit from the organs of the dying child, the parents have initiated this request at no financial benefit for themselves. It is interesting that in Florida a teenager can have an abortion with getting their parent's permission (only parental notification is required in Florida). So it is ...

Solution Summary

A discussion about choices regarding life and death? To what extent should parents be able to choose if a child lives or dies? To what extent should the government have the right to decide who lives or dies? Can a parent choose to end the life of a child if the parent determines that the child's quality of life is unacceptable? Over 1,850 words of original text and contemporary stories detailing decisions that have been made regarding someones life or death.

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