Euthanasia as a Contemporary Issue 

Euthanasia as a Contemporary Issue .

Euthanasia as a Contemporary Issue

The legality of euthanasia has been a contemporary issue in modern society following an increased case of terminal illnesses such as cancer. Some people argue that it should be legalized while opponents believe that it should not. Euthanasia means giving somebody the right to die due to unbearable physical pain or as explained differently as a simply mercy killing. In some countries like Belgium, euthanasia is legal, and a most recent euthanasia case was when a Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort maintained that she was considering it to help her escape from a life of unbearable physical pain. There are numerous of citizen all across the world that faces a similar situation on whether to undergo the process or let nature take its course. It is important to note that the issue of mercy killing is not a new one and has been a controversial topic since the early days. While legalizing euthanasia appears right, there should be certainly enforced laws for behavior among doctors and policy makers when making the decision.

Some people say that mercy killing is a good death. A huge number of individuals in the society believe that a free citizen should have the right to make a decision on whether to terminate their life or not especially when they are in unbearable pain. Ideally, some people base their arguments on fundamental human basic rights arguing that people have the right to make a decision related to their death. That is, death is a private affair, and if the passing of an individual does not harm others, then nobody including the state should interfere’ (Swanton). Furthermore, some practical arguments have been offered where it has been stipulated that no matter the legality or illegality of mercy killing, it still happen. Therefore, it should be embraced and legalized based on consequentialist and utilitarian argument.

The people for the legalization of euthanasia often maintain that mercy killing should be supported because the law and medical ethics do not require that treatment be done to keep human alive. This is because; it is against a patient’s wish to die and contrary to medical practices and the law.ccording to Chand, ‘to allow a terminally ill individual to end their life is the only human, rational, and compassionate choice.’ That is, patient that is in intense physical or mental suffering should be granted his or her wishes to die. By so doing, pro-euthanasia individuals argue that legalizing mercy killing would be, ‘preventing the cruelty and protection of human rights’ (Chand).

According to Swanton, ‘the only purpose for which power can be rightly exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.’ Thus, the statement by Swanton emphasizes the fact that people have specific rights in a democratic country. Typically, people that support euthanasia uses the argument by Mill to maintain that since people that desire to be euthanized do not physically harm others then euthanasia should be legalized. Also, there is the argument that mercy killing does not shorten life. That is, in all nations where mercy killing is legal, ‘it is the near-exclusive preserve of the terminally ill and terminal illness is the final stop before death’ (Russell). Such arguments hold the idea that although miracles happen where terminally ill people recover, ‘the cases are so statistically improbable that no one gets to hear them’ (Swanton).

I believe that mercy killing should not be legalized necessary. That is, they firmly embrace the idea that only a few people recover from terminal illnesses and no law would be made on such assumptions. For instance, people against euthanasia do not entirely dismiss the idea that miracles happen. However, mercy killing should be considered as murder since it is the act of ending an individual’s life. Any country that upholds Christian values should make laws that prohibit euthanasia. Upon the death of Brittany Maynard, the head of the Pontifical Academy for life maintained that ‘…suicide is not a good thing. It is a bad thing because it is saying no to life and everything it means on our mission in the world and towards those around as…’ (Saul). Ideally, the Bible heavily condemns murder in all its form through the sixth commandment of ‘though shall not kill.’ Therefore, mercy killing should be seen and treated as murder.

Through legalization of mercy killing, doctors and other medical practitioners are given too much power to kill. Typically, the doctors are given the right to kill in what is commonly referred to as playing God. In the modern days, doctors are taking self-centered interests in making money or making things go their way. In Netherlands, many patients die every year due to mercy killing whether it was without consent or not. A perfect example of a doctor who took advantage of a patient is r. Jack Kevorkian who was a pathologist and took advantage of his patient’s agony (Sulmasy, Travaline, and Louise 246-250). He killed many of his victims being a pro-euthanasia to harvest organs for transplantation and experimentation (Sulmasy, Travaline, and Louise 246-250). In addition, legalizing euthanasia will lead to destroying the normal doctor-patient relationship. Frequently, a patient seeks a doctor because he or she knows that the doctor will do anything to save their life. However, if euthanasia is legalized, then patients may distrust the doctors. Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath that makes it clear that doctors should treat their patients to the best of their ability, alleviate pain, and protect life (Sulmasy, Travaline, and Louise 246-250). Legalizing mercy killing would be going against the very oath that doctors are sworn in.

We can all agree that euthanasia is a form of murder. Both parties to the debate may present arguments but what remains clear is that life will be lost. In the past, some terminally ill patients had survived even when medical reports indicated that they would not survive. Therefore, it would be selfish and wrong to end the life of a patient based on a medical report. Individuals who are for mercy killing agree that sometimes miracles do happen where terminally ill patients survive. Sometimes a patient may consent to mercy killing due to the amount of pain that they are going through, but advancements in modern medicine have managed to limit the amount of pain. As a result, killing a patient based on ending their pain is slowly becoming outdated. Ideally, no individual should play God by deciding who lives and who dies no matter the amount of consent given. Any country that upholds and values the life of its citizens ought to ensure that euthanasia is illegal and should not be practiced in any medical

Chand, Kailash. “Why we Shouldmake Euthanasia Legal.” The Guardian, 1 July 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/society/joepublic/2009/jul/01/euthanasia-assisted-suicide-uk. Accessed 27 Jan. 2017.

Russell, Paul. “Paul Kelly Makes The Case Against Euthanasia.” News Weekly, 2016, http://noeuthanasia.org.au/blog/2453-paul-kelly-the-case-against-euthanasia.html. Accessed 27 Jan. 2017.

Saul, Heather. “Vatican Condemns Brittany Maynard’s Decision to End her Life as ‘Absurd’.” Independent, 5 Nov. 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/brittany-maynards-decision-to-end-her-life-labelled-reprehensible-by-the-vatican-9840093.html. Accessed 27 Jan. 2017.

Sulmasy, Daniel P, John M Travaline and Mitchell A Louise . “Non-Faith-Based Arguments Against Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” The Linacre Quarterly vol. 83, no. 3, 2016, 246-257.

Swanton, David. “Euthanasia.” An Ethical Rights, August 2014, https://www.ethicalrights.com/submissions/euthanasia/92-arguments-in-support-of-euthanasia. Accessed 27 Jan. 2017.

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Euthanasia as a Contemporary Issue