Of all the arguments against euthanasia, the most influential part is the slippery slope and once doctors or physicians have the right to kill patients, we will not be able to limit the killing to those who want to make suicide or die. There is a confusing definition term of euthanasia and assisted suicide or dying but the two terms are totally different. Euthanasia is the termination of a terminally ill person’s life to relieve them from the suffering with lethal injection is administered by a doctor or physician.
Euthanasia was first used by Greeks, who call it “Euthanatos”, which means “easy death” (“Ethics of euthanasia…”, 2014). While assisted suicide or dying is the act of helping another person kill themselves by providing them with the means to do so, by prescribing a lethal medication. Although many people claim that euthanasia was introduced for a compelling cause, it was first misused by the Nazi’s in Germany, who considerately implemented euthanasia on innocent children and elderly people, by misleading them by saying that they were being given routine medical check-ups at health camps.
Lethal injections or poisonous gas was given to these innocent people to kill them slowly and from that day forward, euthanasia was heavily misused by different countries. But, still many people want to legalize it, as they believe that, euthanasia is a way of providing an easy end of life to the terminally ill people. This only involves more pain and suffering, which is unseen to the person committing euthanasia, but felt and experienced by the person, going through it and is unable to express it.
Now, euthanasia has a legal status in many countries including Netherlands, Belgium, Thailand, Australia, Europe, and some states in U.S.A like Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado, Hawaii, and Washington DC. Therefore, euthanasia should not be legalized because it is nothing less than cold-blooded killings that violate governing laws, morals, social, psychological values of the medical world. To begin with the definition of the terms, euthanasia is usually taking to mean ‘mercy killing’ and is applied to situations where the patient is suffering severely or is enduring a terminal illness. Euthanasia can be more helpfully be defined as ‘the international killing by act or omission of a person whose life is felt to be not worth living’.
Secondly, physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is a situation where the doctor indirectly performs a lethal act, assisting the patient to terminate their own life. In PAS, the doctor prescribes lethal medication which the patient swallows. In cases where the patient cannot take the medications, or where the suicide attempt fails, the doctor administers a lethal injection. There is also a voluntary euthanasia which refers to when the patient desires their life to be ended and makes persistent and durable requests where non-voluntary euthanasia is when the patient lacks capacity and has not requested to be euthanized. The last definitional term is involuntary euthanasia, where a mentally competent person or patient is not consulted and arguably their life is ended against their own will. First, a strong ethical argument against the use of euthanasia is that it could soon become a slippery slope because it leads to involuntary euthanasia and killing of people who are thought undesirable or might not be in a person’s best interests.
With the legalization of involuntary euthanasia following it, Lord Walton, the chairman of a House of Lords committee on medical ethics looking into euthanasia spoke on the subject: “We concluded that it was virtually impossible to ensure that all acts of euthanasia were truly voluntary and that any liberalization of the law in the United Kingdom could not be abused.’ Since involuntary euthanasia is indistinct from murder it would be impossible to regulate, causing the danger of murderers not being brought to justice, due to their crimes being passed off as involuntary euthanasia. There is also concern that doctors could end up killing very sick patients without asking for their permission, and in the worst-case scenario, begin to kill off patients to free up beds in hospitals, or to save money. These situations show how dangerous it could be to let the legalization of euthanasia lead to the legalization of involuntary euthanasia. This scenario seems extreme, but we should remember that ideas that were first thought impossible and unthinkable can quickly become acceptable.
Let’s take the example of Belgium, sixteen years ago after the legalization of euthanasia, the law was then amended to allow euthanasia for children with incurable diseases, regardless of their age. This is the top homicide committed on human life who are the most vulnerable that needs to be cared and protected against deliberately taking the life of a child. If euthanasia or assisted suicide is legalized, we will be led down a slippery slope towards pervasive medical killings, endangering vulnerable populations like disabled, elderly, minority, or poor people whose lives are a burden on society. Starting with Hippocratic Oath, the medical professional code prohibits killing, holding the intrinsic value of human life and dignity above all other ethical principles. Assisted suicide and/or euthanasia erodes the doctor-patient relationship and has the grave potential for misuse and abuse. Therefore, legalization would undermine the patient-physician relationship and the trust necessary to sustain it; alter medial professions role in society; and endanger the value our society places on life, especially on the lives of disabled, incompetent, and vulnerable individuals. Secondly, euthanasia is unnecessary when proper palliative care is available. Allowing euthanasia will lead to less safe care for the terminally ill persons.
Moreover, legalizing will discourage the search for new cures and advanced treatment for the terminally ill patients and further undermines the motives to provide diligent care for the dying, and pain relief. Currently, terminally ill patients are given drugs and other types of support to help relieve the physical pain and mental effects of being terminally ill. If this palliative care is competent then it may be able to relieve the patient of a lot of pain and discomfort and will give the patient a better quality of life. It has been stated by the World Health Organization that “palliative care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process; it neither hastens nor postpones death; it provides relief from pain and suffering; it integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of the patient.’ Effective palliative care will give the patient and their loved one’s chances to spend quality time together and will allow the patient to live the remaining part of their lives with hope to get cure and pain removed as possible by the unstoppable doctors and the growing technology to innovate a solution cure for the terminally diseases. However, some argue that euthanasia is the right choice for the terminally ill patients and believe that a reduction in the availability of palliative care, as euthanasia is more cost-effective than prolonging the life of dying patients by providing palliative care.
This could expose vulnerable people to pressure to end their life because of they’re may be selfish families or terminally ill patients whose families abandon may feel euthanasia is the only solution. If the pain is treated effectively, there is no need to terminate the patient’s life as if the patient were the problem to be eliminated. Fortunately, advance medical technology has made it possible to enhance human lifespan and quality of life. Palliative and care and rehabilitation centers are better alternatives to help disabled or patients approaching death life in a pain-free and better life. For old and invalid individuals nothing can bring a change except that they are blessed with a new life which is not humanly possible in any way so voluntary euthanasia should be allowed to those old and ill who have no hope for any technology or medicine to cure them. God only knows when a life will end who are we to end a life thinking it to have reached its end.Thirdly, euthanasia is bad because of the sanctity of human life that is to be valued, irrespective of age, sex, race, religion, social status or their potential for achievement. Most of the religious group especially Islam, Jews, Hinduism, and Christianity goes against euthanasia because it violates the principle that life is given by God. Human life is a sacred and a gift from God and therefore taking a life deliberately should be prohibited except only in self-legitimate defense of personal life or protecting other human life from danger. For instance, the philosopher Immanuel Kant said that rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not to something else. This means that we shouldn’t treat other people to our own ends just because it seems the most effective way of putting an end to our suffering.
Many physicians do not want to have God-like power over others, and they should not be pressured against their own convictions, to assist in patient’s suicide. Almost all religious beliefs, understanding the value of human life leads away from mercy killings and human life is a God’s gift to us and therefore sanctity of human life are therefore strong restrictions on the taking of life. The suffering from pain is part of all religious life and part of the general human experience in a fallen world. Hence, physical and emotional pain cannot ultimately be avoided and be challenged to maintain hope and perseverance in all situations. All human life, whether in the womb or outside, is a sacred and God-given worth such that mercy killing(euthanizing) is morally impermissible. The notion of sacred life lays behind almost all faiths or religious teaching on the issue of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. Everyone has personal rights to decide to live or give-up life. By saying this we are allowing suicides in society. If suicide is not taken as a good act then how can we take euthanasia on good terms? People are not allowed to take their own lives in their hands. Life is bestowed upon us by God almighty and however painful it is we all have to live through it that’s part of bargain where there are good times there are bad times as well.Euthanasia becomes a way of health care cost containment and by legalizing will start using it for their benefit.
Old, senile people who are difficult to be taken care off will be put for euthanasia to help their families save money by paying their hospital bills. For instance, disable, abnormal, mentally retarded infants or children will be given off by parents for mercy killing to ease the suffering of the child as well as to save the family from the burden of the child’s treatment costs. In addition, insurance companies to get off a heavily insured terminally ill patient would be in favor of euthanasia so that they don’t have to pay for that person unlimited hospital bills. Euthanasia will also become non-voluntary because Organizations working for organ transplantation will play a vital role in putting people to euthanasia to get their organs for transplantation. People who will not voluntarily want to die regardless of their illnesses would also be given for euthanasia to obtain their healthy organs. People in favor of euthanasia usually say that voluntary euthanasia will not lead to involuntary euthanasia but many times there are certain cases where we can’t judge things as clearly as they seem to be for instance if a patient is too old to understand and hear what a person is asking for how can he be taken as a sensible person when he is asked his consent for euthanasia .Moreover, if women going through depression is being encouraged to commit suicide and some doctor is assigned to make up her mind for it then how can we judge whether it was a voluntary euthanasia out of the ladies own will or something which she was encouraged to do y her practitioner.
There will be unlimited problems if euthanasia will be legalized in any of its forms.In the past proponents of euthanasia tend to argue on the grounds of compassion. Under this line of argument, it is kinder to provide someone with a means of ending their life or even actively killing them when there is no way to relieve physical suffering. However, as palliative and social care improve, this argument becomes less important. It is also increasingly clear hospice professionals that suffering becomes less important. It is also increasingly clear from hospice professionals that suffering can have several dimensions, many of which can be relieved, for instance, through the restoration of a relationship. Interestingly, the drawbacks of healthcare providers find themselves in a more complicated situation. They need to invest more in their patients, and communication is time-consuming. The healthcare system is generally based on treating the disease, but at the end of life the paradigm shifts from the disease to the patient, and the patient is at the center of care.
Euthanasia or assisted suicide is morally incorrect and should be forbidden by law. It’s a homicide and murdering another human cannot be rational under any circumstance. Most importantly, human life deserves exceptional security and protection. Even doctors cannot predict firmly about the period of death and whether there is a possibility of remission or recovery with other advanced treatments. So, implementing euthanasia would mean many unlawful deaths that could have well survived later. Legalizing the euthanasia or assisted suicide law would be like empowering law abusers and increasing distrust of patients towards doctors. Also, family members influencing the patient’s decision into euthanasia for personal gains like wealth inheritance is another issue, and there is no way you can be sure if the decision towards assisted suicide or euthanasia is voluntary or forced by others. In addition, the law thus opens the door for physically healthy persons to ask to end their lives because they may be tired of life. Does a person who finds no meaning in life suffer unbearably? It would be difficult, almost impossible, for an assessment committee to judge whether the criteria for euthanasia are satisfied if the symptoms cannot be interpreted in the context of the physical condition. Furthermore, euthanizing terminally ill people or killing people earlier would otherwise happen and thereby to artificially eliminate their chances of living to experience a cure to their condition. At the very least, if not a cure, euthanized people are not around to benefit from any step-forward in treatment that might alleviate their suffering.
In addition, given the modern advances in palliative care, it might also be argued that end of life care is no so advanced that euthanasia is not necessary to avoid suffering and so cannot be justified even on the quality of life grounds. It might be thought plausible that a person with a severe and worsening disease who is not euthanized could have their condition and pain carefully managed by skilled healthcare professionals to greatly diminish any suffering. Above from the above reasons, there are some aspects where there is a greater possibility of euthanasia being mishandled. How would one assess whether disorder of mental nature qualifies mercy killing? What if the pain threshold is below optimum and the patient perceives the circumstances to be not worthy of living? How would one know whether they wish to die is the result of unbalanced thought process or a logical decision in mentally ill patients? What if the individual chooses euthanasia or assisted suicide as an option and the family wouldn’t agree? Alternative treatments are available, such as palliative care and hospices. We do not have to kill the patient to kill the symptoms. Nearly all pain can be relieved. There is no ‘right’ to be killed and there are real dangers of ‘slippery slopes’. Opening the doors to voluntary euthanasia could lead to non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, by giving doctors the power to decide when a patient’s life is not worth living. In the Netherlands in 1990 around 1,000 patients were killed without their request. We could never truly control it.
Reports from the Netherlands, where euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are legal, reveal that doctors do not always report it. The assumption that patients should have a right to die would impose on doctors a duty to kill, thus restricting the autonomy of the doctor. Also, a ‘right to die’ for some people might well become a ‘duty to die’ by others, particularly those who are vulnerable or dependent upon others. In conclusion, euthanasia should never be legalized. Even voluntarily allowing to die shouldn’t be permitted because it will raise many issues in the society. People will do it openly for their own benefits disregarding the moral values of the society. Human beings will be treated as mere means and all those who are a liability on their relatives or families will be put to euthanasia regardless of the fact if they want it or not. Human life will be at stake.
The value and sanctity of life will lose its importance. Even if someone wishes for it they should keep their hopes in God and should keep on living as this suffering will be rewarded in the life after. Moreover, one never knows when a new treatment may be available to cure a terminal illness. As so many earlier untreatable diseases have a treatment these days.