SHOULD EUTHANASIA BE LEGALIZED 1
Should Euthanasia belegalized?
70% of Americans support physician-assisted deaths (Morris, 2013).These deaths occur when terminally ill persons are helped toterminate their lives. The rationale for the practice is that itrelieves pain and suffering. Whether to allow terminally ill personsto request for the termination of their lives or not is acontroversial topic because both the proponents and opponents raisesome pertinent issues. This paper argues that euthanasia should belegalized as a way of protecting the dignity of human life, ensuringthat terminally ill persons do not travel to other countries toprocure the service, and to give room for its regulation.
Even in countries where it illegal, it is still being practiced. Theresults of a research published in the New England Journal ofMedicine reveal that 0.5% of all euthanasia procedures executed inthe Netherland did not involve the client’s explicit permission(Morris, 2013). Morris posits that the situation was even worse wheneuthanasia was illegal in the country because the rate ofphysician-assisted deaths that the patients did consent to was 0.8%in 1991. Additionally, Morris reports that a 2012 study in Britainfound that at least 57,000 patients died without knowing that effortsto prolong their lives had been stopped. The fact that euthanasia ispervasive even in the countries that have outlawed it shows thatlegalizing the practice will safeguard the process from abuse. Also,terminally ill persons may opt to travel to countries whereeuthanasia is legalized to procure death with the help of theirdoctors.
Additionally, Chand (2009) argues that the major concern that hasbeen haunting the process of legalizing euthanasia is the possibilityof abuse, especially by the family members of the ailing person.However, legalizing the practice will facilitate the process ofputting in place certain conditions that must be met before aterminally person’s will to die with dignity is granted. Some ofthese conditions include that the person must be terminally ill, 18years and over, mentally competent, and in severe pain (Chand, 2009).Additionally, Chand recommends that a competent medical practitionershould confirm that the above requirements have been met before theprocess of euthanasia can begin.
Second, legalizing euthanasia will prevent cruelty and protect humanrights. In a civilized society, individuals should be empowered tomake decisions regarding the quality of their lives. Allowingterminally ill individuals to terminate their lives is the onlycompassionate, humane, and rational choice (Chand, 2009). Wheneuthanasia is not allowed, terminally ill persons are required toendure immense sufferings against their wishes, and this is notright.
Additionally, legalizing euthanasia will not only alleviate thesufferings faced by the terminally ill, but will also lessen theemotional turmoil their relatives go through. A husband to anex-lecturer was threatened with being sentenced to at least 15 yearsin prison if he helped his partner commit suicide regardless of thelatter going through multiple sclerosis that rendered her lifeirreversible agony (Morris, 2013). Apart from spending a colossalamount of money trying to sustain a terminally ill person’s life,which sometimes leave the bereaved in debts, watching a closerelative suffer amounts to psychological torture.
On the other hand, the opponents of euthanasia base their argumentson the sacredness of human life. Religious opponents of euthanasiaargue that human life comes from a supernatural being hence, nohuman being should be allowed to take it. Besides, there is thepossibility of euthanasia being abused if made legal. Diseases resultin sufferings, and this may prompt a person to make irrationalchoices such as requesting to be euthanized. Additionally, terminallyill persons may be forced to consent to euthanasia to ameliorate thesufferings their ailments are inflicted on their families (LivingWith Dignity, 2016).
Besides, opting for euthanasia has detrimental effects on the medicalfraternity as it cripples down the process of coming up withsolutions to the many diseases plaguing the human life. If euthanasiais illegalized, the medical fraternity will not have any alternativebut to increase research and apply all knowledge to try and save aterminally ill person’s life. In the process of trying to help theterminally ill, new medications and better practices will be invented(Living With Dignity, 2016). Throughout history, running away from aproblem has never solved anything instead, it makes things worse. Byallowing terminally ill patients to request for the termination oftheir lives, the society will be opting for an easy way out whichwill come to haunt it eventually.
In rebuttal, for those who argue that legalizing euthanasia willtarget the vulnerable, research shows the contrary. In Oregon, wheresince 1994 euthanasia had been legal, physician-assisted deathscontributed only 0.2% of all deaths recorded in the State within aperiod of 10 years since the practice was legalized (Morris, 2013).This shows that the arguments that the vulnerable would be targetedheld by those who oppose legalization of euthanasia are untrue.
In conclusion, only a few countries and States allow euthanasia forterminally ill patients. Those who support the practice argue thatallowing euthanasia is a way of honoring a person’s right to life.Additionally, this group argues that the fact that some countriesallow it means that terminally ill persons can procure it only thatthey will have to spend more time and money to achieve their goal. Onthe other hand, the proponents of euthanasia argue that the practiceis prone to abuse not only by family members who may pressure aterminally ill person to consent to euthanasia but also the patient. For example, a patient may opt to die instead of going through apainful treatment process. Additionally, the proponents of euthanasiaargue that the practice disrespects the sacredness of life. However,while everybody has a right to an opinion on the issue, it is clearthat legalizing euthanasia will give room for the necessary measuresto be put in place to safeguard it from abuse.
Chand, K. (2009). “Why we should make euthanasia legal.” Retrieved on June 19, 2016.
Living With Dignity. (2016). “Argument against euthanasia.”Retrieved on June 19, 2016.
Morris, M. (2013). “10 Arguments for legalizingeuthanasia.”Retrieved on June 19, 2016