The Euthanasia Debate: Arguments Both For and Against

The practice of Euthanasia is a controversial topic, provoking strong opinions regarding the moral, ethical and legal issues surrounding the practice. Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering, and often applies to a terminally ill patient. While some suggest humans have a right to due and to die with dignity, others disagree, pointing to multiple factors to back their views up. In this article, we take a look at both sides of the argument.

 

silhouette of a man in window
Euthanasia is a polarising topic. Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

Background

Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life, usually in a bid to relieve the individual from pain and duffering. Usually, the individual will request to have their life ended. Euthanasia can be categorised in multiple ways – such as voluntary and non-voluntary Euthanasia. We primarily focus on voluntary Euthanasia – which is where the patient gives their consent to die, unlike non-voluntary, where a decision is made on behalf of the patient (illegal in all countries). Euthanasia is legal in very few countries, with Netherlands and Switzerland among the handful.

 

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For Euthanasia

  • Euthanasia is compassionate. It can be difficult for family members to see a loved one in clear pain. Allowing people to die with dignity is important.
  • Ultimately, Euthanasia relieves the pain of an individual who might be past saving.
  • Most proponents of Euthanasia point to the human choice element. If someone wants to die, it could be suggested it is their life, and they should choose what to do with it.
  • If Euthanasia was widely adopted, then many more Hospital beds and resources would become available. In many countries, demand outweighs supply in terms of hospital beds. Euthanasia would help solve this issue.
  • Moreover, Euthanasia would lower the cost of keeping someone alive who doesn’t want to be. Significant costs are involved in some machines involved in keeping terminally-ill patients alive.
  • While Euthanasia is predominantly illegal, there are no laws against suicide. Yet is there much of a difference? At least the practice of Euthanasia provides more of a pleasant ending.
  • When pet animals are terminally ill, putting them to sleep is accepted. Why should it be different between humans and animals?

 

Against Euthanasia

  • If Euthanasia is legalised, where do you draw the line? Do you then make Euthanasia legal for everyone? Or just those suffering from a certain illness? How can you decide? It may sound like a good idea in theory, but in practice it would be very difficult to implement. How can one person or government decide what makes Euthanasia an option.
  • From a religious standpoint, Euthanasia goes against the Sanctity of Life – which suggests all life is precious, and that no one has the right to take someone else’s life.
  • Ultimately Euthanasia means ‘we play God’ – what gives us the right to decide when to die?
  • In many cases, someone must deliver an injection, or turn off a life-support machine. It could be suggested that in doing this, that they are committing murder, and murder is wrong.
  • Moreover, Doctors and Physicians may find themselves in the position where they must make a decision as to whether a life is worth continuing or not. In that scenario, is it fair on anyone?
  • Due to advancements in medicine and the wider Scientific field, nearly all pain can be controlled. We don’t necessarily have to kill the individual in order to kill their symptoms too.
  • In some cases, an individual may choose to die out of guilt – perhaps feeling they are a burden to their family. In the majority of cases, this isn’t the case.

 


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Euthanasia is a very difficult topic, with two very different sides of the story. It is understandable that there is so much support for Euthanasia being legalised – it is our life, we should be able to do what we want. Yet there are a range of legal, ethical and religious arguments against Euthanasia. In practice, it is highly unlikely for Euthanasia to ever be legalised worldwide. But, you never know what will happen in the future.

 

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