Free «Euthanasia» Essay Paper


Euthanasia refers to the process of intentionally ending the life of an individual in order to relieve him from pain and suffering. Euthanasia is also referred to as good death or assisted suicide (McDougall, Gorman & Roberts 13). There are four types of euthanasia namely active euthanasia, passive euthanasia, voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. Active euthanasia refers to the process of terminating or ending the life of an individual usually a patient by a physician through a lethal injection whereas passive euthanasia is where a doctor deliberately refuses to provide appropriate treatment or equipments that would help in saving or sustaining the life of a patient based on logical reasons or assumptions that the patient is suffering thus would be relieved from the pain when left to die. Paterson defines passive euthanasia as refusing to save the life of a patient deliberately (25). For example, a doctor may refuse to give a patient of acute pneumonia or asthma a respirator to assist him in breathing or to supply the patient with oxygenated air. On the other hand, voluntary euthanasia is where the consent of the patient is sought and obtained before he is put to death through either active or passive euthanasia whereas involuntary euthanasia is where the life of an individual is terminated without his consent or approval. Voluntary euthanasia is legal in countries such as Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In the United States of America, voluntary euthanasia is permitted in the states of Oregon and Washington, D.C (Ball 19).

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The legalization of euthanasia in some countries has sparked fierce and contentious debates among human rights activists, political and religious leaders. Many questions have been raised as whether or not euthanasia is morally justifiable. In my opinion, I would assert that euthanasia is not morally justifiable because of the following reasons.

First and foremost, I would argue that being alive is a very important aspect of the human race and is intrinsically valuable and precious for every human being. Therefore, death cannot be regarded as to be better than life. A person who is alive will always be of greater importance and wroth than a person who is dead. Thus, I would assert that involuntary and active euthanasia is wrong and cannot be morally justified. Moreover, passive euthanasia or failing to preserve the life of an individual I also morally unjustifiable irrespective of the circumstances or conditions under which it is performed.

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Secondly, I would also assert that taking someone’s life is a murder and should be considered as a social injustice. In addition, failing to preserve the life of an individual who is great pain or in a life-threatening situation is contrary to social assistance and humanity. Cohen-Almagoralso argues that justifying passive and involuntary euthanasia would put physicians and other healthcare professionals into temptations of not helping ill people as well as foregoing their main role of preserving life (71). Instated, doctors would become murderers. This would result into increased negligence of duty by physicians and unwarranted loss of worthy lives.

I would also argue that the life of an individual is highly valuable because of the special attributes such as joy, self-awareness, happiness and deep interpersonal relationships it brings to the person. Therefore, taking away or failing to preserve the life of an individual implies that the individual would be deprived off such attributes and benefits. In my view, experiences in life are unconditionally good in spite of the numerous hardships, problems and challenges that people face.

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Thirdly, I would assert that euthanasia can only be justified in theory. However, it practice euthanasia is morally unjustifiable because it is likely to lead to unwarranted and iniquitous killing of people, for instance, a parent or a close relative may be tempted to eliminate his son or brother in order to evade and circumvent the social costs associated with illness of the individual. Thus, the rules and principles of euthanasia are prone to the violation and infringement. For example, a person may request for his relative to be euthanized in order to reduce hospital bills or to inherit the wealth and properties of the patient after his death. I strongly believe that euthanasia is in essence wrong and cannot be morally justified irrespective of the underlying reasons or motives for is administration. Manning also agrees that justifying euthanasia is likely to result into killing of innocent persons based on immoral motives (140).

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Fourthly, most proponents of euthanasia argue that it should be legalized and permitted especially when an individual requests for it, for instance, a terminally ill person my opt for voluntary euthanasia in order to save him from prolonged suffering and unnecessary pain. Thus, proponents of euthanasia argue that warranting voluntary euthanasia is right because it conforms to the wish and right of autonomy and self-determination of the patient.  For example, Gorsuch argues that voluntary euthanasia may be justifiable when an individual does not wish to continue living beyond a given point of life or sickness (255). Therefore, continuing to keep the person would be violating his wish and will in life. In contrast, I would challenge such arguments on the basis that such terminally ill persons are usually in a condition or state in which they cannot make any reasonable or sound judgment. Therefore, any action should not be taken based on their wishes because their judgments and thinking are usually impaired or influenced by the need for not being a burden to their families or caretakers. Thus, they view death as an escape strategy and not as a solution to their suffering or pain. I would also be impossible to establish what has motivated the patient to request for euthanasia. As a consequence, I would not be ethical to grant terminally ill people their wish for euthanasia.

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Despite the numerous questions that have been raised on whether or not euthanasia should be legalized or be morally justified under specific circumstances, I strong believe that the act killing an individual is cruel, inhumane and immoral regards of the basis under which it is performed. I also believe that life is a precious gift from God and should not be taken away. Instead of killing a person through euthanasia, physicians should struggle to preserve his life.

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