Euthanasia: Live and Let Die
April 11, 2013
Euthanasia: Live and Let Die
In 2004, Pope John Paul II said “A man, even if seriously sick or prevented in the exercise of its higher functions, is and will be always a man… he will never become a ‘vegetable’ or an ‘animal’. The intrinsic value and personal dignity of every human being does not change depending on their circumstances” (Pope John Paul II, 2004). Euthanasia or assisted suicide is the deliberate action of ending a life in order to relieve unstoppable suffering. Euthanasia is legal in Albania, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, as well as some US states. In some of these countries, euthanasia is generally executed by a ...view middle of the document...
As a result of legalizing euthanasia, doctors will prescribe death as a regular basis and will abandon their compassion when battling a complex disease or attending elderly, incapacitated, or patients at death’s door (“Euthanasia and assisted, arguments”). Second, an appropriate care that includes physical, emotional, and spiritual care for terminal patients and their families will be enough to dissuade the patients from considering euthanasia. The cornerstone of an efficacious palliative care resides in treating the patient as a person instead of treating an assortment of symptoms or medical inconveniences. Saunders the founder of the modern hospice movement says, “You matter because you are. You matter to the last moment of your life and we will do all we can to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die” ("Anti-euthanasia arguments,"). Last but not less important, opponents says that even if euthanasia itself is perhaps acceptable, legalizing it will inevitably lead to practices that are not. According to Keown in his book Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy, chances are that after the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia or morally permissible acts, other kinds of morally impermissible acts like euthanasia without consent or involuntary euthanasia will follow (Lillehammer,2002).
On the other hand, supporters of euthanasia believe that sometimes palliative care cannot be enough or cannot be an adequate solution for those patients who have intolerable pain or those depending on third parties to carry on a private, worthy, and decent lives. Some physicians affirm that although good palliative and hospice treatment is given to patients, 5% of those patients do not have their pain lightened during the last stage of their illness. In addition, other patients are convinced that having palliative care will cause a loss of activeness ("Anti-euthanasia arguments,"). Furthermore, those in favour of euthanasia claim the right to die ("Pro-euthanasia arguments,"). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) notes the following:
The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. The exercise of this right is as central to personal autonomy and bodily integrity as rights safeguarded by this Court's decisions relating to marriage, family relationships, procreation, contraception, child rearing and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment. In particular, this Court's recent decisions concerning the right to refuse medical treatment and the right to abortion instruct that a mentally competent, terminally ill person has a protected liberty interest in choosing to end intolerable suffering by bringing about his or her own death (Vacco,1996).
The last argument for euthanasia is a pragmatic argument. Supporters confirm that nowadays a kind of euthanasia is being practiced under a...