Euthanasia:A legal/Ethical Right to Die?
Euthanasiais widely known as the practice where life is ended in order torelease a person from suffering that is considered intolerable orfrom incurable disease (Amarasekara and Mirko 3). Usually, this typeof killing is known to be an easy and painless death avenue. Usually,this happens upon requesting the dying patient or gettingconformation from the legal representative. Usually, when such aprocedure is carried out it is called voluntary Euthanasia(Amarasekara and Mirko 7). However, in the event that nothing is doneto prevent occurrence of death it is called passive or negativeEuthanasia. On the other hand, active or positive Euthanasia is whenan individual deliberately takes an action to cause death. In mostcountries including UK, it is illegal to assist an individual to killthemselves. The questions then arise whether a terminally illpatient should be given the opportunity to terminate their life andwhether it is what the patients’ desire. The questions have led toa number of controversies and numerous debates surround them. However, the authors who are pro euthanasia argue that the patientshould be final arbiter, however, those who are against euthanasiasay that the practice might be misused and ultimately lead todisturbing situations (Amarasekara and Mirko 11). There are manydebates that have been advanced as far as the ethical and legality ofEuthanasia is considered. This poses a question: Should the practiceof Euthanasia should be allowed and consequently legalized?
Inhis article, “A legal right to die: responding to slippery slopeand abuse arguments” Dr. Benatar argues against two mainassumptions that are used by opponents of Euthanasia which are theone on slippery slope and the argument on dangers of abuse (Benatar206). The author discussed a number of studies that were conductedagainst allowing Euthanasia and ultimately agrees that being takenthrough Euthanasia is highly immoral and unethical. The author movesto give a number of reasons why by all means Euthanasia should not belegalized. Though there are counterclaims that the author presents tosupport the issue of Euthanasia, he finally agrees that it is an actthat should be prohibited (Benatar 206).
Inhis article, the author uses several arguments to back up his claimsome of the arguments can easily be broken into premises andconclusion reached. For instance: Premise 1: Permission ofEuthanasia leads a society down the slippery slope. Premise 2:Proper palliative care is available. Thus the unstated premise 1 isthat permission of Euthanasia will make the society in general toembrace the act wholly. Unstated premise 2 is that where there isproper care offered then life should not in any way be terminated. From the first premise we can reach a conclusion that it is not easyto tell or rather it is impossible to make sure that all acts ofeuthanasia are indeed voluntary and that any applicable law is not inany way abused (Benatar 207). Further, given that it is difficult todifferentiate forced euthanasia from murder, the author alludes thatregulations applying to it will equally be cumbersome and complex.Thus, in sense, murders and the associated cases might ultimately notbe brought to book given that their crimes are passed off as cases ofinvoluntary euthanasia. Additionally, from this, the author statesthat doctors might end up killing the patients who are very sick withno permission guaranteed from the side of the patient (Benatar 207). Also, imagining the worst case scenarios, the doctors might even getinto killing patients in order to free up the beds in hospitals.Thus, any effort to allow or embrace euthanasia might lead to immoralpracticing of euthanasia. Given that killing of a person is unethicaland Euthanasia involves killing of a person then Euthanasia isunethical.
Fromthe second premise, one reaches the conclusion that there should notbe any case of life termination when there is proper palliative care.In essence, ill patients are normally given drugs and other types ofsupport so that they are able to improve health-wise. Improving inhealth means that the pain they have is relieved as well as anyaccompanying mental effects. In instances where the doctorsadminister effective palliative care, the patient will be relieved ofpain and ultimately get out of discomfort and the patient gets abetter quality of life. This statement can be supported by the factthat palliative care usually affirms life and in most cases treatdying as a normal process which in normal cases does not in any wayhasten or postpone death. Thus, in short, palliative care oftenprovides relief from pain and suffering of patients while at the sametime incorporates the psychological and spiritual aspects of thepatient (Amarasekara and Mirko 23). The arguments of the author canbe said to deductively correct. The author further acknowledges thatnot all forms of trauma undergone by the patient is physical thusdrugs might not be able to help in pain and emotional relieving.Thus, at times, the emotional support might be necessary and thiscomes from palliative care. Thus, this last part of the patient’sliving might make them less stressed and handle themselvesemotionally if they are properly taken care of. The author goes aheadto argue that effective and proper palliative care will ensure thatthe patient and their loved ones are able to spend quality timetogether. Thus, the patients will be able to live their remainingportions of life with less stress as much as possible. Deductively,the author suggests that will introduction and encouragement ofeuthanasia, there are high chances that palliative care will highlyreduce. The author suggests that is because the cost of carrying outeuthanasia is cheaper and cost effective than the cost of prolongingthe lives of the same dying patients. Therefore, this could inessence reduce the availability of care needed for these ill patientswho might not wish to undergo the procedure of euthanasia. However,the author tends to offer counter argument by asking whether thereare times when palliative care might not be enough for the patientswhose lives he says might be too unbearable. He suggests that in suchscenarios maybe termination of life might be the best option (Benatar206).
Inshort, the author tends to agree that there is no need whatsoever toend the life of an individual voluntarily rather what might apply isthat one should be left to die normally and live a life that theybest desire. Individuals should not be assisted to die as slipperyslope arguments necessarily apply ultimately and that the actionswhen universally adapted then they will be morally wrong.
Intheir article, "Canadian physicians and euthanasia: 3. Argumentsand beliefs”, Williams, Frederick and Douglas argue raises both thepro and against euthanasia arguments (Williams, Frederick and Douglas1699). While assessing their arguments, it appears that the argumentsare founded on two main premises. Premise 1: Life is sacred andPremise 2: Possible consequences. Thus unstated premise 1 is thatlife is sacred and should be promoted at all times. In their argumentbased on the first premise, we reach a conclusion that life shouldand that sanctity of life principle should entirely apply. Theauthors affirm that their beliefs are embedded firmly in religion aswell as the secular medical ethics (Williams, Frederick and Douglas1699). Thus, the authors suggest that physicians should do all theycan to ensure life protection even if everyone dies as long as it isnot the physicians who bring death to people.
Mypersonal arguments on this topic however, might go against all thepremises raised by the authors. First, I am of the opinion thatEuthanasia should be legalized given that I think the patients get todie a less pain kind of death. As much as I may agree that it isimmoral to end an individual’s life, patients with diseases likecancer should always be allowed to decide on their death time.Usually, cancer comes with lots of pain which is chronic and severeand efforts to end such lives will be the best than allowingindividuals to undergo the pain. Further, asserting the arguments ofslippery slope might be easier but there seems to be no empiricalevidence to prove that indeed it exists. The assumption in itselfmight be morally wrong as its consequences of adoption likely couldbe dire. My argument is based on two main premises. Premise 1: Lesspain associated with the deaths. Premise 2: Slippery slope argumenthas no basis and it’s a mere and blank assertion. Basing on the twopremises, I get to a conclusion that the Euthanasia should belegalized and it is ethical. The mere arguments against it are blankand do not hold basis. Thus, my conclusion is reached upondeductively. On the other hand, the conclusion the authors of bothworks tend to base their arguments is from inductive reasoning.Therefore, any effort to allow or embrace euthanasia might lead toimmoral practicing of euthanasia. Given that killing of a person isunethical and Euthanasia involves killing of a person then Euthanasiais unethical.
Amarasekara,Kumar, and Mirko Bagaric. Euthanasia, morality and the law. P. Lang,2002.
Benatar,D. “A Legal Right to Die: Responding to Slippery Slope and AbuseArguments.” Current Oncology 18.5 (2011): 206–207. Print.
Williams,John R., Frederick Lowy, and Douglas M. Sawyer. "Canadianphysicians and euthanasia: 3. Arguments and beliefs." CMAJ:Canadian Medical Association Journal 148.10 (1993): 1699.