Euthanasia should be legal
|Topics:||Euthanasia, Ethical Dilemma, Ethics, Human Rights, Medical Ethics|
Euthanasia is among the issues that have aroused intense debates over time such that it is recognized as a pertinent issue in the human rights discourse as it also has impacts on the ethical and legal issues related to patients and healthcare providers (Mrayyan, Majd, and Bilal, 1). People possess different views concerning the issue where others argue that euthanasia should be considered as an option for terminally ill patients while others perceive that it should not be considered at all. Euthanasia is obtained from a Greek word which means good death (Wright, 84). It is defined as the practice of assisted suicide which is committed with the intention of relieving pain and suffering. The issue of assisted suicide has of late been one of the most researched topics in modern bioethics, and surveys conducted in the U.S. show that 46 percent of the physician population consent to voluntary euthanasia for certain situations while 41 percent of them disagree to the issue (Pereira, 1). When morally analyzed, legalization of euthanasia gives the terminally ill patients the right to a dignified death and the right to end intolerable suffering.
To begin with, people should recognize the fact that everyone has a right to die. In most cases, various discussions carried out concentrate on the right to life. Those who are against euthanasia claim that it trespasses an individual’s right to live. However, these proponents fail to realize that our lives signify death and that in its absence, we do not possess human life. This, when critically analyzed indicates that human life cannot exist without death and in this case, death is considered imminent. Therefore, for those who hold on to the notion that human beings have the right to live, they as well agree that all human beings have the right to die. This argument proves that the sole self-determining capability that we possess provides us the right to decide the nature of our death. Further, it is vital to note that that the right to life has no direct association with the right to die, both of these sides are considered mutually exclusive such that the right to live relates itself only with self-determined life and comes to an end with the right to die.
Another significant factor to consider is that people have an explicit right to choice. In this case, everything that human beings do are determined by their explicit rights. For instance, an individual has a right to choose what they will have for lunch, what they believe, what their opinions are and what they like to do with their lives. All human beings deem to be found on the right of choice which seems to evolve considering that the intrinsic nature is assessed. However, irrespective of the repercussions, no individual has a right to question human being’s right of free will. In this case, it can be argued that man has a fundamental right to chooses and this applies to all human life aspects including the right for a man to decide how they die.
Furthermore, it should be recognized that euthanasia is not immorality. For an action to be termed as immoral, it should be proved to be against the laid down norms and laws. Considering that life must be preserved and protected, the proponents of euthanasia argue that the issue is immoral. What they fail to recognize is that the preservation of life is a matter of making a personal choice and not that of the physician. For instance, a person’s right is said to be infringed in case of murder, where choice is taken away in the person’s death. Moreover, when a person chooses how to die, there is no infringement of rights in such cases. In instances where a health physician denies an individual his or her right to die when under severe pain and suffering is said to denying the person the freedom of choice. In essence, it is considered a life of misery and ultimate death particularly in cases of terminally ill patients. Though the physician might be having good intentions, it should be noted that no one owns the right to force one to live a miserable life. In fact, it is considered immoral because such intentions deny an individual his or her right to choose.
Another reason supporting the realization of euthanasia is that it does not harm others. Naturally, human beings have diverse interests though it is not uncommon to have conflicting interests. In case of a conflict, the civilized society and the state have the mandate of ensuring determination of such engagements without infringing individual rights (Cholbi, Michael, and Jukka, 250). Human rights are always secured, and in case of violation, severe punishments are imposed on those who go against such rights. With this information’s, euthanasia as a choice does not infringe anyone’s fundamental rights. In this case, therefore, death is considered a personal and private affair that imposes personal harm and destruction of life to the person who demanded it. No person should call for euthanasia on behalf of another. Otherwise, this will be treated as a murder case. Euthanasia does not harm anyone since the process of euthanasia has no restrictions and infringement on anyone’s fundamental rights.
Moreover, every individual has a right to good death, and therefore, this must not be denied to those who demand one. Every individual desire a good death, nobody wishes for an extremely painful and horrible death (Govier, 355). Human beings often have a desire to have a good end following a successful life. Most life circumstances may not always be in favor of an individual these may range from a terminal disease to a freak accident that puts one in unbearable pain. Though these circumstances may not be desired by any individual, individual that have been misfortunate and analyzed with such conditions in most cases must have a choice out of it. We do not have a right to judge other’s state when we have no knowledge about it as well as no right to compare their experiences regularly, having no experience in them and conclude that they do not deserve to die with dignity. In general, we possess no right to deny other people a dignified death that we wish for and this points out why euthanasia should be legalized.
On the contrary, other proponents argue that euthanasia should not be legalized because alternative treatments exist. Most people believe that patients suffering from terminal illnesses have two major options of either receiving euthanasia or die while suffering. Recent studies carried out in palliative medicine indicate that most of the severe symptoms experienced by terminally ill patients can be alleviated by the available techniques (Cottone and Villa 153). This, therefore, refutes the legalization of active euthanasia given that the terminally ill patients, who are considered the main subjects of euthanasia can now receive treatment by use of existing techniques. Another aspect of opposing legalization of euthanasia is that active euthanasia gives many powers to doctors. The legislation of active euthanasia leads to minimal doctors’ accountability and gives doctors more power. In most cases, patients make their decisions based on the information they receive from doctors such that it becomes difficult to resist any course of action suggested to them by doctors. These factors indicate that active euthanasia imposes more powers on healthcare practitioners which in turn can be misused.
In conclusion, the issue of Euthanasia has aroused intense debates over time such that it is recognized as a pertinent issue in the human rights discourse as it also has impacts on the ethical and legal issues related to patients and healthcare providers. The various arguments brought fought for the legalization of euthanasia include recognition of the fact that everyone has a right to die, every individual has a right to good death and therefore, this must not be denied to those who demand one and people have an explicit right of choice. On the contrary, other proponents argue that euthanasia should not be legalized because alternative treatments exist and that active euthanasia imposes more powers on healthcare practitioners which in turn can be misused. However, when morally analyzed, legalization of euthanasia gives the terminally ill patients the right to a dignified death and the right to end intolerable suffering.
- Mrayyan, Majd T., and Bilal SH Badr Naga. “Legal and Ethical Issues of Euthanasia: Argumentative Essay.” Middle East Journal of Nursing 7.5 (2013): 31-39.
- Cholbi, Michael, and Jukka Varelius. New Directions in the Ethics of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. , 2015. Internet resource.
- Govier, Trudy. A Practical Study of Argument. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
- Wright, Christopher J. H. Truth and Spirituality Today. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.
- Cottone, R R, and Vilia M. Tarvydas. Ethical and Professional Issues in Counseling. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Merrill Prentice Hall, 2003. Print.
- Pereira, José. “Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide: the illusion of safeguards and controls.” Current Oncology 18.2 (2011): e38.