Those in favor of euthanasia might use one of the following: Euthanasia, also known as mercy killing, is the practice of terminating a life to alleviate an individual from an incurable illness or unbearable pain. Euthanasia is a kind and gentle solution for individuals who are experiencing long-term suffering. Although assisted suicides have received a lot of negative press coverage in recent years, euthanasia is still quite controversial in the United States.
Euthanasia, in the proper hands, is a humane way to address an absence created by our sometimes inhumane modern society. Suicide is always traumatic for families and friends in our culture. If there is no other option to alleviate the pain of terminal patients, euthanasia is the more compassionate alternative.
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To those who would protest euthanasia, consider this an appropriate antithesis statement: Euthanasia is nothing less than cold-blooded murder. Euthanasia reduces life to a commodity, much like the very divisive topic of abortion. Euthanasia is ethically and morally wrong, and it should be prohibited in the United States. Modern medicine has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, but euthanasia resets these medical and scientific advancements back by years, turning today’s medical doctors into administrators of death.
Euthanasia comes from the Greek term “Thanatos” meaning death, and the preposition “eu” meaning easy or pleasant. (Russell, 1977, p. 8) It may be clarified as follows to those who advocate for euthanasia: Euthanasia is a blanket term for an easy or painless death.
Voluntary euthanasia is initiated by the patient or his/her legal representatives. Passive or negative euthanasia is the act of allowing someone to die, which is known as non-action; active or positive euthanasia is taking deliberate action to cause death.
Euthanasia is frequently confused or linked with assisted suicide, a distant cousin of euthenasia in which a person wishes to commit suicide but feels unable to do so alone due to physical disability or lack of expertise on the most effective ways. Depending on local legislation, someone who helps a suicide victim achieve his or her goal may or may not be held responsible for the death. There is a significant distinction between euthanasia and assisted suicide; this paper focuses on euthanasia rather than assisted suicide.
Euthanasia is a topic that has generated a lot of controversy. There are many compelling reasons to support it. Modern dying is now quite terrifying. Nowadays, doctors have the tools and abilities to prevent natural death virtually indefinitely. The terminally ill frequently endure needless suffering and are kept alive without any prospect of recovery as their loved ones maintain a distressing deathwatch.
It was legal in certain circumstances to assist others kill themselves during ancient Greece and Rome. The Greek writer Plutarch mentions that infants were slain in Sparta because they were “unhealthy and weak.” Socrates and Plato approved of various types of euthanasia. In several ancient civilizations, it was acceptable for the elderly to choose to die on their own terms.
Euthanasia has been permitted in a variety of ways by many civilizations. “There is no more intensely personal decision, or one that is closer to a person’s core freedom, than the decision a terminally ill individual makes to end his or her suffering,” wrote U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein. (Rothstein, 1994, p. 615).
In 1935, an organization called Euthanasia (also known as Voluntary Death) was founded in Great Britain, and the American Society for Suicide Prevention was formed in 1938. They’ve received some political backing, but so far they haven’t managed to achieve their goal in either nation. Western legislation prohibiting passive and voluntary euthanasia has grown increasingly lenient during the last few decades.
The passage of legislation in 40 states by 1990 allowing legally competent individuals to create “living wills” has given strong support to the pro-euthanasia movement. These wills allow and instruct doctors to withdraw life-support systems if patients become terminally ill.
Euthanasia occurs in every society, including those who consider it immoral and unlawful. A medically assisted end to a meaningless and worthless “void” of a life is both acknowledged and permitted by the medical field. According to a Colorado poll, 60% of physicians have cared for individuals they think should be killed actively, while 59% are willing to administer lethal medications if the practice was legal.
In a survey of 676 San Francisco doctors, 70% believed that terminally ill patients should be permitted to choose active euthanasia, while 45% would carry out the request if legal (35% were opposed). Nearly 90 percent of physicians in another study thought it was appropriate to administer pain medication to alleviate suffering even if it might hasten a person’s death.
On the other side, there are some who may rebut your point. Euthanasia became wrong morally and ethically during the era of organized religion. Human life is sacred in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which outlaws euthanasia in any form. The American Medical Association still opposes assisted suicide.
The act of assisting someone in committing suicide has generally been regarded as a form of homicide under Western law. Even an indirect refusal to assist in avoiding death has frequently resulted in severe penalties. The American Medical Association’s Board of Trustees urges that the American Medical Association refuse euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. (T1994, p. 81-90)
The Rev. Richard McCormick, a Christian ethicist at Notre Dame University who recently spoke out against assisted suicide in Fort Lauderdale’s Holy Cross Hospital, asks when does the right to die become an obligation to die? Consider an 85-year-old grandmother with the choice of asking for a suicide dose from a physician: “Do they want me to ask for it now?” Physician-assisted suicide can be more cost-effective than traditional palliative care. This is flight from the social duty of compassion.) (Rothstein, 1994, p. 22)
It is necessary to fight illness in order to recover. If we know of an easy escape route, such as assisted suicide, the human consciousness would naturally seek to utilize it. It’s also possible that a person who opts for euthanasia will reverse his or her decision at the last minute and that it’s then too late. (Heifetz & Mangel, 1975, p. 21) It’s also probable that someone who chooses euthanasia will change his or her mind at the last moment and there’s no turning back now. (Heifetz & Mangel, p. 21)
The practice of euthanasia has been around for a long time. The Oath of Hippocrates, which is thought to have been established in the fifth century B.C., included a specific oath against physician-assisted suicide, when it stated, “I will give no one any deadly medication, even if asked for it.” (Levine, 1991, p. 104)
However, many pro-euthanazis claim that the oath prevents them from providing anybody with a deadly medication to kill an adversary, or instructing the individual on how to use it. ?On the other hand, if the objective of medicine is not simply to extend life but also to alleviate pain, then questions arise about the oath? (Levine, p. 105)
What about the innocent bystanders? What would happen to a family, friends, or even foes of someone who took the “right-to-die” option? It is thought that a person suffering from an incurable or terminal illness is not in full control of their mental facilities and thus unable to make such a tremendous decision. Surely a poor mind probably rules out rational thinking when it comes to survivors. How many people who are merely in the background pay for euthanasia as well?
Euthanasia is practiced by all civilizations, even in those that consider it despicable and unlawful. In countries where discretion is required, euthanasia occurs under the guise of secrecy. Euthanasia is carried out in societies that demand concealment. The alleviation of pain should be the first priority for the treatment of patients suffering from a terminal illness or chronic condition who are experiencing severe agony. It’s just as essential to relieve the patient’s psychological and other distress as it is to alleviate their physical pain.
Although strict legal and moral restrictions still exist, passive and voluntary euthanasia is gradually becoming more permissible in Western nations. Passive and voluntary euthanasia is nevertheless prohibited in most Western countries, although serious ethical and legal concerns persist. Some critics of euthanasia have worried that the growing success of doctors at transplanting human organs would pave the way for widespread abuse of the practice.
However, the question of whether physicians may transgress the dying donor’s rights to save the organ recipient has been answered. Despite popular belief, even though polls show that most Americans support the rights of sick individuals to end their suffering through self-induced death, euthanasia is one of the movement’s more contentious components.
Today, patients have a choice in the matter of active or passive euthanasia; that is, they have the right to choose whether or not to continue receiving life-sustaining treatments. Active euthanasia, on the other hand, is likely to generate considerable debate because of opposition from religious organizations and many members of the medical field. The medical profession has been caught in the middle of social debates regarding assisted suicide. Both government and religious organizations, as well as doctors themselves, believe that physicians are not obligated to use “extraordinary efforts” to extend a terminally ill person’s life.
In the Netherlands, euthanasia may be lawfully carried out under four circumstances: a) if the patient is experiencing an intractable suffer ing and there is no prospect of recovery, b) if the patient has the mental capacity to choose whether or not to opt for death, c) if the patient repeatedly requests for death over a long period of time, and d) if another doctor who has not treated or previously examined the subject agrees that life should be ended. (Levine, 1991; p. 110)
The rights in question in this chapter are the right to life and the right to die with dignity. Robert George is a prominent advocate for assisted suicide, so it’s no surprise that he has an opinion on both issues. According to George and Porth (1995), he believes that 1) people own themselves, 2) owners have the authority over their belongings, 3) people have a natural right to end their lives and even seek assistance from others.
According to some, doctor-assisted death is already prevalent but covertly, and the Netherlands is a case study on how to bring it out into the open where medical and legal systems may regulate it. (O’Keefe, 1995, p. A1) The problem has been compared to that of abortion since people were obtaining it anyhow. People had access to abortion; it was just being done horribly. We’re in exactly the same circumstance today. People do have access to assisted suicide; it’s simply being handled inadequately. (Shavelson, 1994 , p )
Choices should not be limited. Preserving the fundamental democratic structure of the United States of America is more crucial than ever before, and it’s possible that we’ll lose our right to help someone else die in the future because we lack options now. The subject of euthanasia is inherently an uncomfortable and personal choice. Euthanasia should remain a private decision; one that should not be legislated or restricted by opposing forces or viewpoints.
- George, R. G. & Porth, W. P. (1995). A Duty to Live?. National Review, 26, 50.
- Heifetz, M. H. & Mangel, C. M. (1975). The Right to Die. Toronto: Longman Canada Limited.
- Levine, C. L. (1991). Is Physician Assisted Suicide Ethical?. New York: The Duskin Publishing Group.
- O’Keefe, M. O. (1995). Doctor Assisted Suicide: Dutch Death. The Oregonian, 1, A1.
- Rothstein, B. R. (1994). Assisted Suicide: Helping Terminally Ill. Knight-Ridder Newspapers, 12(10), 615.
- Russell, R. R. (1977). Freedom to Die. New York: Human Sciences Press.
- Shavelson, L. S. (1994). A Chosen Death; The Dying Confront Assisted Suicide. New York: The Duskin Publishing Group.
- Trustees (1994). Report of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association. Issues in Law and Medicine, 10, 81-90.
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