Euthanasia and its Advantages
The meaning of the term euthanasia has evolved over the years from a gentle and easy death to something a little more complicated like mercy killing to prevent a prolonged and painful death. Euthanasia can be passive and aggressive meaning it could be carried on voluntarily or involuntarily. Both forms have been major controversial issues since the 19th century. Euthanasia itself has a long history; Between 400 to 300 BC, the father of medicine, Hippocrates wrote: To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death. (Hippocratic Oath). In modern history, before the second world war, the Nazis carried out an aggressive euthanasia program named Action T4, where they would involuntarily kill mentally and physically incapable children and adults, whom they believed to be unfit to survive. In the 1940s and 1950s, the practice of euthanasia sparked outrage among quite a lot of people. Euthanasia is one of the most debated, controversial, and certainly sensitive topics in our society. However, in spite of all the moral arguments against it, I feel that it would be beneficial. This essay will focus on the ethical aspects surrounding euthanasia and provide arguments for why it should be practiced.
The debate in the ethics literature on euthanasia is just as divided as the debate on physician-assisted suicide, perhaps more so. Slippery-slope arguments are often made, supported by claims about abuse of voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands.... Arguments against it are based on the integrity of medicine as a profession. In response, autonomy and quality-of-life-base arguments are made in support of euthanasia, underscored by claims that when the only way to relieve a dying patient's pain or suffering is terminal sedation with loss of consciousness, death is a preferable alternative -- an argument also made in support of physician-assisted suicide (Brody et al. End of life decisions). Euthanasia is a very important topic, because it affects the lives of millions in the world. Killing is a sin and has always been so, but is mercy-killing justified? After all, doctors do it for good intentions. Mercy killing is certainly not done as an act of violence to intentionally harm another human being. Under such circumstances, should euthanasia be allowed? Personally, I believe that there will be a lot of advantages if euthanasia is legalized everywhere in the world. People against it claim that it is morally unacceptable and an equivalent to murder. However, it is important to examine whether or not it is really murder if you are saving somebody from a lifetime of pain. By relieving a person from suffering an incurable disease, will one not be doing an act out of good will? There are also theological arguments against it. Various religious groups believe that the act of killing (whether justified or not) is a sin, and it is not up to humans to decide who should live and die. As important as religion may be, I feel that humans have a moral duty to perform acts of virtue and passive euthanasia is an example of a virtuous act. Additionally, there is also an economic advantage to practicing euthanasia. These days, hospital space is very limited. Instead of wasting a bed on a suffering patient who probably no longer wants to live, the space could be used to save a countless number of lives. The quality of the hospital care will increase and there will be a shorter waiting list for hospital space, which will thereby increase the efficiency of hospitals everywhere. Finally, we are living in a country where democracy and freedom of choice are stressed. About 70% of U.S. adults favor physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia. It is our choice on the matter. If such a large percentage of the population believes that it would be beneficial, it should be legalized everywhere in the world.
I believe in attempting to find solutions where majorities of the people are satisfied. Naturally, euthanasia itself goes against several peoples moral principles, so not everyone will be pleased with the end result. What I believe should be established is to form a controlled system where only under extremely hopeless circumstances, should euthanasia be permitted-that is, the patient must be suffering from an extremely painful, unbearable disease which has no chance of being cured. The patient must give permission to perform the physician assisted suicide, and if the patient is unable to do so, a close family member may be allowed to make the decision for him/her. In conclusion, the practice of euthanasia should be used as a heroic effort to relieve someone of suffering, and to save many more lives in the process.