In the last thirty years, Euthanasia has been a very controversial topic, fabricating the battle of human ethics against Christian morals. There may be certain cases where it is considered “letting die”; nevertheless, it is still basically murder. Through various opinions, evidence and incidents, I will debate the statement should Euthanasia be legalized? Is it ethical? Euthanasia originated from a Greek word, translated to “easy death,” and is often linked with the notorious Dr. Kevorkian “Dr. Death.” There are three different types of euthanasia:
Doctors believe to be “letting the patient die,” such as making conscious or unconscious patients off of life support, not reviving the patient in case of heart failure. The third group is called assisted suicide. This is where Dr. Kevorkian and his suicide machine come into practice, made “popular” by his technique. The machine injects a lethal dosage of potassium chloride into the “patients'” bloodstream, killing them painlessly within ten minutes.
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The first type of Euthanasia mentioned above is known as “active voluntary euthanasia.” This is where a conscious, mentally capable person, usually with a severe physical illness, loses the motivation to live. Many people say that keeping them alive is just extending the time of death, a cruel punishment. They sometimes ask that life support should be disconnected so that they can die quickly and painlessly. Most doctors are trained to do their best to defeat death, or at least try to delay it as long as possible, but if the patient is desperately ill, and would rather die, the doctor can consult the “hospital ethics committee”, and take the patient off of life support.
When doctors are taken to court, they defend themselves by saying, “I didn’t kill him, I just let him die.” However this is illegal throughout Australia and the rest of the world, but it still is a common incident. The second type, “passive voluntary euthanasia,” is conducted when patients are terminally ill or in a “vegetable” state. As a result of this, the family decides to take their loved one off of life support. The family may choose to have the patient taken off of life support if they desire, and if the doctors have to obey, it will be done. However there was a case where the doctor said he had a “moral problem” in killing a patient, and so the parents took the doctor to court.
The judge ruled that removing life support “would be a homicide and an act of euthanasia” and said that “judicial conscience and morality” told him that the doctors were dealing with the patient correctly. But the parents later appealed to the Supreme Court and the decision was reversed, stating that the patient had the right to refuse treatment. The third and most fiercely disputed type of euthanasia is doctor-assisted suicide. Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his suicide machine have become well-known for their part in this type of euthanasia. In 1990, Janet Adkins of Portland found out that she had Alzheimer’s disease.
She had seen the doctor on television and in Newsweek magazine and then contacted him. He fitted his van with the suicide device, and on June fourth, 1990, they drove to a local park in Michigan. Kevorkian hooked Adkins up to a tube; she died in less than six minutes. According to Kevorkian, just before dying, “she looked at me with grateful eyes and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.'” The doctor then called the police and reported what had happened. He was barred from using the suicide machine again, but four months later, he assisted in the suicide of two women.
The question is, should euthanasia be legalized? Is it ethical? It is not ethical, and in almost all cases, it is murder. In the Netherlands, it is already performed widely and openly. In November of 1991, voters in the United States had a chance to decide whether or not they wanted to legalize euthanasia, to make it legal “dying with dignity.” It was voted in to legalize it under the following conditions: the patient would have to be mentally competent; two doctors would have to agree that the patient had less than six months to live, and the patient would be required to ask for euthanasia in writing. But even though it was voted legal, when asked on television, everyone asked said they strongly believed that it was unethical.
From the people: “Rules against killing are not isolated moral principles, but pieces of a web that form a moral code. The more threads removed, the weaker it becomes”. “Asking doctors to kill undermines the moral integrity and confidence in a profession that heals, comforts, and protects life.” The problem with euthanasia is accepting that life is worthless and should be thrown away. Anyone will be considered useless; in the end, we may be killing off our species, our morals. It’s practically mocking human life, turning ourselves into God, deciding who deserves to live and die, as we push natural religion out of our lives. Every life is deserving and worthwhile, not only to us as human beings, but also to God.
Every person is worth fighting for. We must use our legal processes, while we still have them, to fight for the rights and lives of our elderly people and people with disabilities. We need to recognize that wishes for euthanasia are extremely rare in situations where the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients are properly met. As the symptoms which bring forward the request for euthanasia can be almost always managed with therapies, our main concern must be to ensure that top-quality care is always available. While understanding the importance of individual long-suffering, history clearly demonstrates that legalizing euthanasia will create serious risks to the whole of society. Legislation allowing euthanasia should be tightly resisted on the basis that it avoids true sympathetic care because successful alternatives exist. It ultimately damages rather than protects patients.