The Euthanasia Debate

Euthanasia is the practice of voluntarily ending a life to relieve pain and suffering (Euthanasia. com/definitions). The act of euthanasia differs from the act of murder in that the person who will die makes the decision to end their life. In the case of murder, the person does not wish to end their life, but anther person intervenes to bring about their death against their wishes. Euthanasia is categorized as active and passive (Euthanasia. com/definitions). Passive euthanasia means failure to provide life prolonging medical treatment and letting a disease take its natural course without intervention.
Active euthanasia means to take measures to end a person’s life (Euthanasia. com/definitions). When the topic of euthanasia is discussed, active euthanasia is typically to what is being referred to. The debate over whether euthanasia, particularly physician assisted suicide, is acceptable is a debate of global concern. Both sides of this debate have clearly defined positions. One side feels that assisted suicide is a form of mercy killing, and under certain conditions patients have a right to assisted suicide if it is their wish.
However, others clearly oppose euthanasia, claiming that regardless of the circumstances, to end someone’s life early is wrong. The following will explore both sides of the euthanasia debate. Proponents The Netherlands and Switzerland were the first countries to legalize assisted suicide for those that were suffering from a painful or deadly disease (Pollard). The issue is hotly debated, and jurisdictions around the world switch back and forth continually on the issue. On the pro side of euthanasia, it is recognized as a right of the terminally ill in order to end their suffering.

It is considered to be a basic human right to die with dignity (Maisie). Proponents of the right to euthanasia propose that the right to die is a natural extension of a person’s right to make their own decisions on any other topic regarding their (Maisie). The concept that a person has a right to decide whether their life has value to them or not is considered to be a basic human right (Maisie). The right to take one’s own life by suicide is considered to be unacceptable in many cultures, therefore it is looked down upon as culturally unacceptable.
However, suicide differs from euthanasia in that a person does not have a condition that would shorten their life, or place them in unbearable pain that is not expected to cease (Euthanasia. com/reasonsforeuthansia). People who commit suicide would have hope for a better quality life if they receive help (St. Clair, 2009). Those who consider euthanasia are exercising their right to end their own suffering. Doctors are at the center of the euthanasia debate. They are in a position where they have an oath to do no harm.
Preserving a life of suffering against the wishes of the patient, or ending that life can both be considered doing harm (St. Clair, 2009). Patients have the right to refuse any medical treatment that is against their wishes (Maisie). It is considered to be contradictory to disallow them the ability to end their life in order to end suffering (Maisie). Many of those who support euthanasia do so on the basis of preserving human rights and dignity. Opponents However, those that oppose the right to die do so based on fears that it might be abused, and become a form of legalized murder (Maise).
Concerns arise over legal heirs who might promote euthanasia for financial gain, or perhaps doctors who would hasten a death in order to receive an organ transplant (Maise). Opponents bring up many scenarios that would make the bioethics surround the issue even more difficult to resolve. For instance, would a mental illness be considered sufficient emotional pain to justify euthanasia, or would the person be considered to be incapable of making a rational decision in this regard (Hershey)? There are many such issues that weigh into the decision of whether to consider euthanasia to be a reasonable course of action.
How to assess whether a person is actually competent to make their own decision when they are under the influence of heavy pain medication is another issue in the euthanasia debate (Hershey). The arguments by both proponents and opponents are largely hypothetical. The circumstances of each case make it difficult to generalize and create effective policy regarding the issue. Both sides have valid points. The arguments of both proponents and opponents are supported by hypothetical situations and scenarios that have come into existence.
This makes the issues surrounding the development of uniform legal and moral policies about euthanasia so difficult because of the many different circumstances. The issues surrounding euthanasia are highly emotional and highly personal. In conclusion, the central debate that is at the heart of the euthanasia issue can be reduced to that of human rights. If the person decides to end their life and they have no hope of recovery, then the question shifts from care to whether or not they have a right to end their own life.
They have a right to make other medical decisions about their own care, and they have the right to determine if they wish to be resuscitated if they should go into cardiac arrest (Patients Rights Council). They can make a living will and determine if they wish to have life-saving or even life-preserving measures should they become brain dead (Patients Rights Coucil). However, the issues regarding assisted euthanasia are complex and both sides viciously defend their position.

Order your essay today and save 20% with the discount code: RESEARCH