Perspectives on the Death Penalty

Need three to five pages of body; and at least ten works cited (actually, at least ten signal phrases in paper body). Use active voice and strong and clear verbs. Please pay attention to paragraph unity. Use a variety of strategies (for example, do not overuse illustrations (stories), and please avoid plagiarism.

Use MLA citation system; make sure to mark your boundaries with a signal phrase and a parenthetical citation; Include one footnote (brief sentence or two that would not go in your paper body). Times New Roman, or Calibri, size 12, double-spaced. Do not triple-space, and use one inch margins.

Include at least one amendment from the Bill of Rights (or the 14th amendment), and at least one article from the UN Declaration of Human Rights;

Make sure your draft follows the required five-point pattern. Use bolded sub-titles; and capitalize important words in all sub-titles.This draft must be properly formatted, according to the listed requirements.

Remember, your position is to abolish the death penalty; then, you must use at least two “reasons” bolded as sub-titles (bolded sub-titles help you organize and control your paper):

For example, you might use Racial Bias and Eyewitness Mis-identification or Class Bias and Cruel and Unusual.
Death Penalty Sources
ACLU resources for Cruel and Unusual, and Arbitrary (violates the “equal protection” of the 14th Amendment). (Links to an external site.)

Equal Justice Initiative (Links to an external site.)

check out the Anthony Ray Hinton story: spent 30 years on Death Row for a crime he did not commit: Racial Bias and Class Bias at work. Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother’s house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for two murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on two bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother’s home. In his powerful new memoir (Links to an external site.), “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction.

VIMEO ACLU Freedom Files: The Death Penalty (against) (Links to an external site.)

Death Penalty Information Center (Links to an external site.)

American Civil Liberties Union (against death penalty) (Links to an external site.)

ACLU Capital Punishment resources: (Links to an external site.)

ACLU resources for Cruel and Unusual, and Arbitrary (violates the “equal protection” of the 14th Amendment). (Links to an external site.)

Amnesty International (against death penalty) (Links to an external site.)

Innocence Project (against death penalty) (Links to an external site.)

Conservatives Concerned: about the death penalty (Links to an external site.)

Washington State Strikes Down the Death Penalty (Links to an external site.)

Justice Breyer against the death penalty because of the 8th Amendment (from the Brennan Justice Center (Links to an external site.)

2 hours ago
This is just the source that my professor posted

Student Name Here

Live and Let Die

I’m not afraid of being dead. I’m just afraid of what you might have to go through to get there. —Pamela Bone

Nancy Niedzielski’s husband, Randy, like many others, had to face the inescapable reality of a terminal brain cancer diagnosis. Allergic to morphine, Nancy had to watch her husband slowly wither and agonizingly die in front of her eyes. Leaving Nancy not only overwhelmed with grief but feeling powerless to help the one she loved. It’s imperative to legalize aid in dying for those in need.


All people are born free, endowed with power of choice. The First Amendment of the Constitution states that we have the right to express and choose for ourselves freely in life (Library of Congress). We might even find that our freedom of expression in life is equally as important in death. The right to decide how we end our lives, when faced with terminal illness, can be one of our most significant expressions of choice as humans.

This sentiment is echoed in our Declaration of Independence, which states that we all are entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Library of Congress). Therefore, the choice is left to us how to pursue and choose what fulfills those rights and liberties; in other words, what makes us happy. For Roger Sagner, a terminal cancer patient, this meant being able to exit this world on his own terms. When asked what drinking the Seconal1 would do for him he replied,

1 Seconal refers to a type of medication given to those with terminal illnesses that chose to end their lives using their state’s aid in dying law. “It’ll kill me and make me happy [emphasis added]” (How to Die in Oregon). It was his informed decision and path to fulfill that choice.
Philosopher Thomas Hobbes believes freedom to be a “state of nature” in which all people are free and equal. In this natural state we all have the power to use that freedom to choose as we desire, unrestricted by the demands of others (Hobbes). Its only logical to then assert that to be free we must be able to decide for ourselves.

In matters of self-determination, we all should have a voice that is heard. Arline Hinckley states, “it all boils down to who makes those decisions for you…the government, politicians or a small group of religious leaders?” (Seattle Channel). Rallying for a positive change in choice, not the restriction of it, more freedom, not less, is the correct choice.

The right to choose is a natural right. John Locke, an English philosopher, claims that we have three natural rights, the second of which grants us liberty. Liberty to lead the life we want, how we want, so long as it doesn’t interfere with another’s right to life (Locke). These rights and the right to choose don’t evaporate when handed a terminal diagnosis. Death is a part of life, and the right to control one’s life or death should be granted only to the individual.

Simply an Option

Legalizing aid in dying gives those with terminal illnesses an option to end their lives on their own terms, not a fast track to euthanasia. According to the Washington State Department of Health, in 2016 out of the 248 prescribed the life ending medication, 22.5% chose to not use it (WSDH). These numbers illustrate that just having the option to choose should the need arise is comforting enough.

According to the Oregon Public Health Division, most patients seek aid in dying as a means of control. The data collected from 2015 shows that around 92% of people expressed fear over a loss of control (OPHD). For those terminally ill it can be reassuring to know that they have an option when their time is near, regaining a sense of control of a life that’s ending. Ultimately, having options is a part of life, it’s fitting that you should be allowed to control your final one.

Relieves Pain and Suffering

In cases of those that are terminally ill, in which pain and suffering are unmanageable, offering aid in dying is the right choice. Pain management, like most things, isn’t 100% effective in all patients. Whether it be from the intensity of the pain or the inability for the medication to be effective. Randy Niedzielski is one of those cases in which pain medication wasn’t an option due to an allergy to morphine. Randy and his wife both recognized the need for the law to allow people a way to relieve their pain in an unwinnable situation (Seattle Channel).

In those situations where pain management isn’t effective, its unbelievably cruel and unjust to force a person to endure, only to die. The 5th article of the UN Declaration of Human Rights outlines and prohibits people from being subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment ( We should not be a part of prolonging suffering, definably inhumane at a fundamental level.

Suffering however is much harder to quantify from the outside. Penny Schleuter, a terminally ill patient who began to lose control of her bowels stated:

“I like doing things for myself, and the idea of having somebody take care of me like I am a little 2-month-old baby is just absolutely repulsive. It’s more painful than any of the pain from the cancer.” (Compassion in Dying)

In those terminally ill patients, being unable to eat, walk, or regulate bodily functions during their final days can only exacerbate an already bleak forecast.

Maintains Dignity

Dignity is something that we all deserve as human beings. Philosopher Immanuel Kant claims that we as humans have an intrinsic right to dignity. In that as living beings we aren’t bound to anyone else desires, or whims. That it is our dignity that gives us the right to self-determine and to take that away would be an injustice (Kant).

Dignity in life should only be preceded with dignity in death. Cody Curtis, diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, stated, “I’m not going to be humiliated by losing control of my bodily functions again” (How to Die in Oregon). Like Cody, none of us wish to encumber our families, unable to take care of ourselves, unable to use the restroom unassisted.

Too Depressed to Make a Decision?

Dr. Rutherford claims that patients suffering from terminal illnesses are “too depressed to make a rational decision”. According to Dr. Rutherford, these patients are receiving inadequate care by not having their depression sufficiently treated prior to a choice being made. For example, she states that most anti-depressants generally take 3-4 weeks before their effects are seen, however the waiting period on receiving the lethal medication is only 15 days. Exacerbating the issue, Dr. Rutherford argues that the inexperience of doctors to has led to only 36 people in the last 10 years being referred for mental health evaluations (Seattle Channel).

However, Hinckley states that out of those requesting the medication, 21% are initially denied by physicians due to symptoms of depression. Furthermore, she asserts that mental health screenings aren’t used as barriers to entry for other procedures that lead to the same result, such as the discontinuation of dialysis. Hinckley insists that in light of any possible depression, it doesn’t change a person’s morals and doesn’t prevent them from making a medical choice in line with their values. She reasons that, “it’s not in peoples make up to get a diagnosis, run out and get medication and swallow it”, instead Hinckley claims these people are very close to death and would only change the timing of an unavoidable outcome (Seattle Channel).

Slippery Slope to Euthanasia?

Dr. deTornay, ex Dean of Nursing at UW, argues that by legalizing aid in dying we move closer to euthanasia, putting the elderly and disabled at risk. She relates the line of thinking to that of Hitler’s abhorrent eugenics program carried out during his time in power. She states that it allows the question of, “who’s desirable in society, and who isn’t” (Seattle Channel).

However, according to the Washington State Department of Health, many safeguards have been put in place to prevent exactly that. Only patients diagnosed terminally ill, with 6 months or less to live my request the medication and must do so verbally and through a written request. On top of this the patient must be deemed competent by two separate doctors to be able to make such a choice. Most important of all, the patient is the only one allowed to administer the medication, baring all others including physicians (WSDH).

Examples of the safeguards working are evident. Ray Carnay, diagnosed with terminal throat cancer, sought the use of Oregon’s death with dignity law. Unwilling to have his vocal cords removed, he became unable to self-administer (swallow) the dose of Seconal and passed naturally. Mr. Carnay’s case demonstrates that the checks in place work (Seattle Channel).

Where Do We Go From Here?

In the case of Nancy Niedzielski and her husband, Randy, they were denied the right to choose and in turn control of their lives. Instead, they were left with an inevitably cruel fate witnessing and experiencing a slow and agonizing death. A circumstance none of us would want for ourselves or loved ones. We must show empathy and respect for those who have no options left. It’s up to us to be and make the positive change we wish to see in the world. Now is the time to legalize aid in dying, showing mercy, compassion, and giving control back to the lives of the terminally ill.

Works Cited

“Primary Documents in American History.” Library of Congress, Library of Congress,

Richardson, Peter, director. How to Die in Oregon. 2011.

Hobbes, Thomas, and Christopher Brooke. Leviathan. Penguin Books, 2017.

Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Government. Bobbs-Merrill, 1952.

“Data and Statistical Reports.” Washington State Department of Health, Washington State Department of Health, 2016,

“Death with Dignity Act.” Oregon Health Authority : Oregon Revised Statute : Death with Dignity Act : State of Oregon, Oregon Public Health Department, 2015,

Nations, United. “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” United Nations, United Nations,

Lee, Barbara Coombs. Compassion in Dying: Stories of Dignity and Choice. NewSage Press, 2003.

“City Inside Out: Assisted Suicide.”, 26 Sept. 2008,


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