The paper is based on the argument of whether euthanasia should be legalized or not. Not many people understand what euthanasia is. Some do not even know that a human can ask for this option when you are close to death. It explains what euthanasia is and shows the main points of each side’s argument. It also gives a little history on what the word “euthanasia” used to mean and how its meaning has changed throughout the years. My argument is that euthanasia should not be legalized and to prove it I provided both sides of this major debate amongst society.
One side explains why euthanasia is bad for society and why it should not be legalized using many different point of views, like religion. The other side argues that euthanasia should be legalized because we as humans have the right to decide how and when we want to die. This side believes that we should be able to die with dignity and not be scrutinized for our decision.
They also believe that if we mad euthanasia illegal, it would be like committing suicide to society. By providing both sides of the argument, it could convince my readers to agree my opinion.
Most of my sources were provided by the school’s databases, which gave me access to many different articles and opinions on the issue. My conclusion on this issue is that both sides provided valid reasons to support their opinions but I believe that euthanasia should not be legalized.
Euthanasia Life is something that most people take for granted. As most people, I believe that all life is special and should be treated with care and respect because everyone has one life to live and it wouldn’t be fair if they didn’t get a chance to fulfill what they wanted to do in life.
The act of euthanasia actually dehumanizes the patients in the hospital and makes the person who is contributing to the death feel like they are playing the role of God. I believe that euthanasia should not be legalized. It just happens to be the legal way of killing someone. And this act of euthanasia should not be seen as a normal thing in society. What is euthanasia? According to Dr. Jonathan Moreno, it “refers to actions or omissions that result in the death of a person who is already gravely ill. ” Some people refer to it as a “good” death but, in reality, euthanasia is an assisted suicide.
In the nineteenth century, it meant “the care of the dying;” a physician was expected to provide conditions that would help alleviate the patients suffering and ease them into a gentle death. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of euthanasia has changed overtime, from meaning to care for the dying to meaning to induce an easy and gentle death of the dying. People choose euthanasia for many different reasons. Some chose euthanasia because they are terminally ill and unlikely to benefit from any new treatments or they do not want to go through the pain and suffering.
Others believe that because their physical health has deteriorated, their spiritual health is now useless. This mentality usually results from patients who can no longer communicate or make their own decisions (Moreno). The problem with euthanasia is that it is a major offense to humanity. As humans, we are born with dignity and by being euthanized or using euthanasia it hurts our dignity. Many people nowadays do not realize how sacred human life is, and believe that if you cannot speak or respond to others, your life is not worth living. However, if a person has the ability to be aware of their surroundings, they deserve to live.
God made our bodies to protect and harbor our souls while we are here on Earth. The reason why most people choose euthanasia is because they do not realize the value of their suffering. According to the Bible, Jesus showed his love for humanity by dying on the cross for our sins and us. There are many different arguments as to why euthanasia is wrong and why it should never be legalized. Society will lose respect for the sanctity of life. It can show people that some lives are not worth as much as others. Some practical arguments are that if given the proper care, euthanasia would become unnecessary.
Allowing euthanasia can also give doctors too much power that they do not need and may eventually abuse. Euthanasia can also pressure vulnerable patients to end their lives. The pressure could come from greedy relatives or to free up their medical pressures (“Ethics guide”). One Christian faith that has a very strong opinion on this issue is the Catholic Church. Its Catechism states that, “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia assists in putting an end to the life of a handicapped, sick, or dying person. It is morally unacceptable,” (CCC 2277).
The Catholic Church strongly disapproves of euthanasia because everyone has the right to live and taking that right away is violating that person’s dignity. By choosing euthanasia, you are killing God’s greatest gift; life. By taking someone’s life away, the Church believes that people are ‘playing’ God. Furthermore, the Catechism says that, “Human life is sacred because from its beginning, it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator…. ”(CCC 2258). With this opinion, people think that the Catholic Church wants people to suffer and go through pain, but this is not true.
The Church wants people to be comfortable during their last moments on Earth. And they encourage people to die when God calls them. Not when they think they have been here to long or have become a burden to their families and others. Mathew Piercy also agrees with the Catholic Church. He believes that euthanasia decrease the sanctity of human life. Society today has promoted euthanasia as compassionate, when it really is just an easier way of dealing with difficult problems. It is wrong to the power over life and death into the hands of mankind.
People use the belief that we are evolved creatures to justify the rejection of God as the Creator leading to the rejection of His authority through His law. According to Piercy, without Him life becomes purposeless and suffering is viewed as meaningless. He believes that people have lost their sense of what it means to be human. The acceptance of euthanasia is part of the shift towards the ‘culture of death’. He mentions the case of Terri Schiavo, a disabled woman on life support was told by a court in the United States that she should die by starvation and dehydration.
Life is not seen as a precious gift anymore; it is being assessed according to its ‘quality’. Most people believe that a young person who is active and productive have a higher ‘quality’ of life than a person who is old, disabled, or dependent. As a society, we believe that at that point, your life is not worth living anymore. Piercy refers to film Million Dollar Baby and mentions how the main character, a female boxer, starts out successful, but then she suffers from a spinal cord injury leaving her disabled and dependent on a ventilator.
The loss of her abilities overwhelms and she seeks death as the easy way out. The ventilator being switched off becomes an act of compassion. They should have supported her through her illness and help her adjust to her life’s circumstances. “When courts or individuals become the arbiters of life or death, such power in the hands of mankind is open to abuse, misjudgment, and bias,” (Piercy). Jean Echlin, a nursing consultant in palliative care and advisor to the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, has written an article on the issue.
Her article is a response to the legalization of euthanasia in Washington. She believes that professional healthcare relationships should be based on trust and asking a medical provider to euthanize or assist in the suicide of a patient can destroy the trust. Echlin believes that we shouldn’t ask doctor or a nurse to help us commit suicide neither should they even consider nor comply with such a request. By legalizing euthanasia, we are authorizing the death of family members regardless of age or ability to consent.
She uses the example of a fifty-four year old woman named Barbara Wagner; she was denied treatment for her lung cancer but was offered assisted suicide by the Oregon Department of Health. Anyone who believes that euthanasia is part of palliative care should not be working in the health care profession. Echlin says that they should not even be involved in anything that involves the health care field like developing standards for palliative care (Echlin). The support for euthanasia is based on mistaken notions. According to Ezekiel Emanuel, there are many myths that make people support euthanasia.
For example, terminally ill patients who are dealing with an enormous amount of pain are more likely to choose euthanasia. But according to the 1991 Remmlink Report on euthanasia in the Netherlands, only thirty-two percent of cases were solely based on the extent of the patient’s pain. What really motivates the request is depression and psychological distress. Another myth is that euthanasia is generally allowed but the support is not strong or deep. Most Americans support euthanasia when the question is vague and hypothetical. It is only supported when the patients are known to be terminally ill.
Most would change their mind if it were in any other situation (Emanuel). Legalizing euthanasia can also be harmful to a society. It could damage societal values that put respect for human life on a pedestal. Margaret Somerville believes that euthanasia would undermine a citizen’s respect for life. She also believes that it can harm the medical profession by causing mistrust of the medical establishment. By legalizing euthanasia, it would change society’s views on human life. People would eventually not see themselves or others as humans anymore.
They would see each other as something that can be replaced (Somerville). Unfortunately, many people believe that euthanasia is not harmful to our society. They believe that euthanasia would be a great service to society. Some even agree that euthanasia is a compassionate act for those who have been suffering for a long time. Alois Geiger believes that a physician has the great gift of being able to end someone’s life peacefully. He says the only reason that people do not agree with euthanasia is because they still follow the Hippocratic oath, which he believes is outdated.
He believes that doctors have the obligation to tell their patients all of their options. Geiger says that by denying the patient the option of the most humane to end their life, the doctor would also be playing God. “If a person is determined to die, that does not mean he is mentally ill. ” Alois thinks that suicide is a right and we should be able to exercise it with dignity and with painless methods. Jasper Emmering supports the legalization of euthanasia for a number of reasons. One of his reasons is the principle of sovereignty of the individual over their own body.
And then there is the distinction between forgoing treatments that could possibly save your life and palliative sedation. He goes on to say that it makes no sense for the first two options to be legal but the third is looked down upon. Even though Emmering believes in euthanasia, he says that involuntary euthanasia should be illegal because the doctor becomes a murderer. “There is no right way to die,” says Marcia Angell and therefore there should be no dispute between supporters for better palliative care and supporters for the hastening of death with the help of a doctor.
To allow a patient to go through excruciating and unnecessary pain regardless of their wishes is cruel and unusual punishment. This is a matter of mercy and mercy should be shown when it comes to a patient in pain. According to Dr. Huang, a Catholic priest, humans have the right to choose when and how they want to die. He believes that euthanasia is not murder. Huang references the commandment “Thou shall not kill” and interprets it as God saying, “Thou shall not murder. ” It is only murder when the motives are malicious, violent and against the victim’s wishes.
He believes that the Churches should find a middle ground between the extremes. God is compassionate and would not want to see any human live his last days on earth in pain or sheer helplessness. He goes on to say that it’s no wonder that many people that are a part of the Church are looking to outside sources for ethical guidance on issues from birth control to euthanasia. He ends his article with if ending of life is done in a responsible manner, then there shall no mention of “murder” or even “suicide. ” Instead it shall be referred to as the “assistance to die” in the inevitably of death.
The person will be properly prepared and the death will happen with compassion and humility as they prepare to return to the hands of God. Thomas Bowden believes that the government has no right to decide whether euthanasia should be legal or not. He says that must come to the realization that there is “no rational, secular basis upon which the government can properly prevent any individual from choosing to end his own life. ” If they make the decision based on secular laws, it will threaten the central principle on which America was founded. It is for these reasons as to why it should be the individual’s choice.
And the doctor may assist after taking an objective assessment of the individual’s mental state. Bowden believes that conservatives just like to put religion in American law to assist in our own national suicide. It is odd to see that many will say almost anything to make euthanasia seem acceptable and necessary in society. Some people have even used God to defend the use of euthanasia, which is unbelievable. They see euthanasia as not murder, but taking control of your life and being able to make the decision to die with the dignity you deserve.
One even said that by making euthanasia illegal, we would be destroying what America stands for, which is a very extreme view in my opinion. I believe that euthanasia should never be legalized. It is an act that devalues and defaces the value and sanctity of human life. Human life should be put on a pedestal and respected. No one should be allowed to defile sanctity by choosing euthanasia for themselves or for others. Euthanasia is a tough subject for many people. Many do not even realize that doctors can use this method on their patients.
People need to be aware of euthanasia and the harm it causes it brings to people and society in general. By legalizing euthanasia, we are allowing ourselves to lessen the value of ourselves and as a society; we must not let this happen. Society must take a stand against this and show people that we are worth more than we thought.