This house believes that, without exception, euthanasia

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In this assignment, I will be writing on the debate surrounding euthanasia. Summarising and evaluating the arguments put forward by both sides during the debate. It includes some ethical considerations, law, medical and the Christian’s religious belief.

The word ‘euthanasia’ comes from two Greek words whose accurate meaning is “easy death”. It causes a death to take place because someone suffers from an excruciating and untreatable disease or injury. They would rather die and have the pain stop than continue living with a pain that is incurable. It is also understood as causing or bringing about a person’s death painlessly, usually because the person is suffering greatly, fatally or permanently ill or brutally psychologically or physically immobilized. It means doing something with the intention of causing death, the intention being the most vital aspect.

There are two kinds of euthanasia; voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is when someone asks to die before or during illness. There are 2 types of voluntary euthanasia; active and passive.

Voluntary active euthanasia causes the most debate out of all areas of euthanasia. It is when “mercy killing” is involved. This is when someone asks for immediate death. Being put to death through an injection is an example of this. Voluntary passive euthanasia is the type that many Christians allow. It means not taking prolonged or vigorous action to preserve life.

Involuntary euthanasia is when the decision of death is made by someone other than the patient because the patient cannot or would not make the decision themselves. For example, a close relative or doctor might make the decision if the patient is not mentally stable

We all believe that our first commitment as human beings is to preserve, fulfil, and enhance life for ourselves and our fellow human beings. However, under certain conditions, a meaningful or significant life may no longer be possible. It is natural for human beings to hope that when that time comes they will be able to die peacefully and with dignity. When there is great distress and the end is inevitable, we advocate a humane effort to ease the suffering of ourselves and others, without moral or legal recriminations.

The debate

“This house believes that, without exception, euthanasia is always wrong.”

I agree with the above statement. I do not think euthanasia can ever be rightfully justified. I mainly think this because I think euthanasia is murder and murder is a sin therefore it is wrong. I agree with some Christian’s points of view when they say that no one can determine the value or the non-value of another person’s life, not even his own. No one has the right to play God. The decision actively to kill a human being is always an arbitrary act, even when it is meant as an expression of solidarity and compassion.

The Roman Catholic Church is totally against euthanasia. They believe it is an act which deliberately brings about death and is the same as murder. However it accepts that drugs, which are intended to relieve pain may shorten life and it’s acceptable. The feeding of a patient must always be continued but “that extra ordinary” treatments such as complicated surgery that is unlikely to succeed need not be given. It emphasises that sick people need and deserve special care.

Many people find euthanasia to be merciful to those suffering intolerable and unstoppable pain or distress. And also agree that if somebody is suffering they should be allowed to be put out of their misery or if they are kept alive by a machine the families should do the right thing by turning off the machine if there is no chance of the patient ever recovering. It would be cruel and inhumane to force them to remain alive in order to suffer when they would rather be put out of misery.

An alternative to euthanasia is hospice care. Hospice care concentrates on controlling pain and giving support to the emotional and spiritual needs of the patients. It is believed that deliberately to kill dying people is to reject them.

Medical advances in recent years have made it possible to keep terminally ill people alive for beyond a length of time.

The opposition to euthanasia does not mean that people insist on medical treatment at all costs. Good medical practise is the alternative to euthanasia. Sometimes a distinction is made between active euthanasia (e.g. giving a lethal injection) and positive euthanasia (withdrawing treatment). However it is misleading to describe withholding or discontinuing treatment as ‘euthanasia� unless it is done with the intention of killing the patient. Sometimes a treatment may be properly withdrawn even with the patient’s consent, for example, when it is ineffective, merely prolonging the dying process in a terminally ill patient.

When a sick or elderly patient asks for euthanasia, it can sometimes be caused by psychological and emotional pressures. How can we be sure it is what they really want and not just because they feel a burden to their families and friends?

Some Christians are in favour of euthanasia because they are unsure if death is bad thing or not. Death is only looked upon as a bad thing because human life is essentially valuable, life and death are God’s business with which we should not obstruct, most people do not want to die and death violates our autonomy in a drastic way. People do not usually want to die and are eager to avoid death because they value being alive, therefore if some one was requesting euthanasia they would have to be in a critical point of suffering. People in favour of euthanasia would feel their number one reason for being in favour is because they do not want to see innocent people suffer.

From an ethical viewpoint, death should be seen as part of a life-continuum. Since every individual has the right to live with dignity, however often this right may in fact be violated, every individual has the right to die with dignity.

Euthanasia presents an ethical problem for patients who know that their condition is incurable or irremediable and their suffering unendurable only if their theology or philosophy has persuaded them that no human involvement in the termination of life is morally permissible. For ethical humanists, euthanasia should be no problem. Pain or suffering is to be endured with as much dignity as patients can summon, as long as there is present a possibility of relief or cure. It is not to be endured when it is completely pointless, as is the case in the final stages of incurable disease.”

Euthanasia could be used in order as a solution for the fair distribution and lack of health resources. Some countries find themselves having a shortage of health resources, this means some people who are ill and can be treated are not because they cannot get immediate access to the services they need for treatment. Another problem is while this is happening, health resources are being used on people who cannot be cured and who would rather not continue living for their own reasons. Abuse of this would be disallowed by only permitting the individual who wanted to die to initiate the procedure, and by policy that thoroughly prohibited mistreatment.

On the other hand, people who are against euthanasia can argue that the above proposal is a completely practical but many people especially those who are against euthanasia will not be convinced by it. In the end it could lead to involuntary euthanasia because of shortage of health resources. This could also lead to people thinking they should carry out euthanasia because they have become a difficult burden on society. “Risk is giving the message that our response to suffering is to kill the sufferer.” (Baroness Finlay of Cardiff).

Legally, euthanasia is against the law. Simply put is it murder. The law is established by the religious and moral arguments’; remembering that one of the Ten Commandments is ‘thou shalt not kill�. But as in other areas in life, people come around as the years pass on and they become more accepting of others� needs. Different countries have different views on Euthanasia, for example Australia and Holland have legalized Euthanasia, whereas Canada and the UK have banned it calling it murder and manslaughter.

A final argument that people in favour of euthanasia may raise is that each person has the right to control his or her body and life. This means they should be able to decide at what time, in what method and by whose hand he or she will die.

Conclusion

This issue needs a lot of thought. Many people agree with voluntary euthanasia, and many disagree but there is also a large amount of people that are undecided on the matter. The time will come when the government and medical services will have to open their eyes to euthanasia, and there will be plenty of debate on the subject. But until then, the euthanasia debate will continue to linger like a terminal disease!!!

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