An Argument for Euthanasia
Euthanasia is defined as, "The act or practice of putting to death painlessly a person suffering from an incurable disease." Euthanasia can be traced back as far back as the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. It was sometimes allowed in these civilizations to help others die. Voluntary euthanasia was approved in these ancient societies. Today, the practice of euthanasia causes great controversy. Both pro-life groups and right-to-die groups present arguments for their different sides. Pro-life groups make arguments and present fears against euthanasia. I contend that the case for the right to die is the stronger argument.
I will begin my by listing the arguments against euthanasia and my criticism of each argument.
1. Euthanasia is a violation of medical ethics. The American Medical Association has consistently condemned euthanasia as an unethical practice. Today, attitudes may be changing. Recent surveys indicate that a majority of doctors in some areas, (60% in Oregon, 56% in Michigan, and 54% in Great Britain.) favor euthanasia in extreme cases.
2. Euthanasia weakens the trust relationship between the doctor and the patient. We expect doctors to heal and save lives, not to kill. I feel that I should be able to trust my doctor to do what is best for me as an individual in any situation, including ending unbearable suffering, even if it is my choice to die in order to end my suffering. Doctors may lose the trust of their patients by not helping them to end their suffering.
3. Choosing the time and place of a person?s death is God?s decision. This argument suggests that we should never intervene in any life-threatening situation. If a person is having a heart attack, should we just stand by and watch them die? If we were to seek medical attention in order to save his life, we would be interfering with God?s will for that person to die. This argument contains nothing that can be rationally argued against because it does not tell us when it is okay to interfere with God?s decisions.
4. The issue of euthanasia is a slippery slope.
Pro-life groups contend that if we allow any type of euthanasia, sooner or later, we would begin killing off not only the terminally ill, but also the handicapped, the poor, the elderly and anyone else who becomes troublesome. The view that we should not make a decision because it could lead to other less prudent decisions later is not a reasonable foundation for setting policies, unless later decisions are definite, and are absolutely wrong. I would hope that the virtue of society would lead us to know where to draw the line between going far enough and going too far. At the present time, it is not clear if where the line is drawn now is where it should be drawn. 5. Euthanasia is killing. Most people believe that there are circumstances when killing is allowed, such as self-defense. The only question is whether or not the killing is justified under the...