Shades of grey: The euthanasia controversy and the rights of the conscious and rational terminally ill adult patient as seen in popular American magazines, 1896-1976.
AuthorWallen, Gail Fern.
Committee ChairDinnerstein, Leonard
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEuthanasia is a subject that is fraught with legal, medical and religious overtones. It is a highly charged emotional subject on which the majority of the American public appear to have a definite opinion. Yet, these opinions are not formed in a vacuum and are usually to be found based upon an individual's personal experiences and upbringing; the experiences of friends, acquaintances, or co-workers; and the views and comments heard, seen and read through America's mass media. By studying one specialized form of communication, the popular American magazine between 1896 and 1976, a clearer understanding emerges of the roots of today's euthanasia controversy. The magazines surveyed suggested that the euthanasia argument shifted its emphasis at mid century from the right to choose and its attendant corollaries to the right to die with its corresponding issues. Underlying this shift is the subliminal acknowledgment that America, through an unwritten contract with techno-medicine, has exchanged its self-determination for the promises of biological restructuring and prolongation of human life. Such a contract denies individual freedom to determine the importance of one's quality of life versus quantity of life. Americans since 1976 have been searching for ways to recapture their self-determination in the end-of-life decision making process.