Term Paper: Euthanasia (Pro) the Debate About Euthanasia (Greek

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Euthanasia (pro)

The debate about Euthanasia (Greek for "happy death") is an ancient one but it has acquired a new relevance in recent times as advances in medical science have greatly extended human life-spans and it is now possible to sustain life for indefinite periods through artificial means. Such advancement has created new legal and ethical problems in determining when to use medical interventions to prolong a patient's life, and when a patient should be permitted to die. Seemingly valid arguments have been advanced both for and against euthanasia. However, after examining both pro and con arguments, as done in this essay, it only seems reasonable to me that the right to die should be an individual decision.

Different Kinds of Euthanasia

The debate about "euthanasia" covers a wide range of end of life issues. For example, "active euthanasia" refers to causing a thirds person's death by, e.g., giving a lethal injection, while "passive euthanasia" is causing death by passive inaction, such as not providing medication, care or food and water. "Assisted suicide" is providing an individual with the information, guidance, and means to take his or her own life. "Voluntary euthanasia" is when a person makes a voluntary request to be helped to die and "non-voluntary euthanasia" is a circumstance where a person is helped to die when he or she is either not competent to, or unable to make such a request.

The Ethical and Legal Considerations

The Euthanasia issue presents several ethical and legal problems. For example, the main ethical dilemma is whether is morally justified to take someone else's life, irrespective of the circumstances; on the other hand, is it morally right to deny a voluntary wish to die by a person and extend his or her suffering. The legal issue is whether assisted someone to die is a criminal activity?

The Arguments against Euthanasia and their Rebuttal

One of the main arguments against euthanasia is the "religious argument" that God gives life and therefore only God has the right to take it away. Such argument is hardly sustainable since religious beliefs do not give a people a right to impose their subjective views on other people. Moreover, how can the religious people argue for postponing death of terminally ill patients through artificial means? Isn't such postponement, interfering with God's will? The religious argument for an absolute ban against "taking lives" seems even stranger when we consider that many Christian opponents of euthanasia support capital punishment.

Another argument against euthanasia is that once we permit any form of euthanasia, it would put us on a "moral slippery slope" leading to targeting of vulnerable groups of people and euthanasia would be used as a "cost cutting solution" by putting elderly and 'non-productive' people to death. Such alleged psychological inevitability of moving from voluntary to non-voluntary euthanasia is not supported by credible evidence. The example of Hitler's Germany is irrelevant because what the Nazis practiced was eugenics and terming it as euthanasia is a misnomer. Evidence from the Netherlands (where euthanasia is legal) is more relevant and serious studies on the subject reveal that there has been no slide on the "slippery slope" there.

People who oppose euthanasia contend that many… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Euthanasia (Pro) the Debate About Euthanasia (Greek."  Essaytown.com.  April 18, 2005.  Accessed December 9, 2019.