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Active euthanasia is a highly debated and controversial topic and is especially prevalent in today’s society. In this article, the reasons why it is such a debated subject and how circumstances and situations matter will be explained with evidence. It will highlight both sides of the argument and how they both have a logical point when it comes to their respected side and why it is so hard to make a decision in the case of a person in power deciding on the legal and moral standpoints.
Humans often view their existence and life, no matter the pain or circumstances, as a given. With the legalization of active euthanasia, it denies the right to exist by default (Brock, 1992, p. 17) and gives another alternative that might suggest giving up hope early on and deciding that dying would be a more viable option than living with a terminally ill disease or other ailment that could not be easily treated.
There is also always the fear of increased pressure to end one’s life prematurely, in the case of a cheaper alternative and how normalized it can become (Lloyd, 2013).
On the other hand, you could argue that this extra option gives hope to dying patients. Their suffering could be over and they could be granted a peaceful, painless death with their loved ones gathered around, instead of a prolonged, painful and undignified death with no family around, at a unknown time.
You could safeguard against possible abuse by following these general rules:
One should also define who would be considered to be eligible for active euthanasia. Verhagen (2006) examines three categories:
By this thought, you do not even have to be terminally ill to qualify but it covers a wide variety of those who are and beyond who are suffering. One could also say that by leaving it undefined specifically, you are leaving open a legal door to abuse euthanasia. For example, in 1982 in Holland, voluntary euthanasia was made available for people with chronic illnesses. By 1985, nonvoluntary euthanasia was taking place; physicians were killing people without their consent on their own initiative or on the request of relatives. In 1994, euthanasia for mental suffering was allowed, and by 1997 doctors faced no penalties for not obeying the rules. In 2001, euthanasia was bound into law, permitting 16-year-olds to decide without parental consent (Larsen, 2011).
In this essay, I have ascertained an example of how the legalization of such a slippery slope without the proper regulations and punishments, can be abused by both families of the patient and the physician. There is evidence to both sides that can be supported whether active euthanasia should be legalized, and I believe before it becomes legalized nationwide, we should look at cases where it is not often taken advantage of and is successful. There should also be a strict code to make sure it is completely voluntary and a competent decision with the rationale behind it. So in conclusion, I think this debate on active euthanasia will keep going on till it is more regulated and normalized.
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