Argument Against Euthanasia Essay

2874 words - 11 pages

A significant portion of society is in favor of euthanasia. They feel that as a democratic country, we as free individuals have the right to decide for ourselves whether or not to terminate one's life. The stronger and more widely held opinion is against euthanasia. This belief is that it is God's task to determine when one of his creations' time has come, and we as human beings are in no position to behave as God and end someone's life. When humans take it upon themselves to shorten their lives or to have others to do it for them by withdrawing life-sustaining apparatus, they play God. They take over the divine function, and interfere with the divine plan.Euthanasia is the practice of painlessly putting to death persons who have incurable, painful, or difficult diseases or handicaps. The word Euthanasia comes from the Greek words "eu" and "thantos" which translates to "good death" and is commonly called mercy killing. Voluntary euthanasia may occur when that incurably ill person asks their physician, friend or a relative, to put them to death. The patients or their relatives may ask a doctor to withhold treatment and let them die. Many critics of the medical profession contend that too often doctors play God on operating tables and in recovery rooms. They argue that no doctor should be allowed to decide who lives and who dies.The issue of euthanasia is having a tremendous impact on medicine in the United States today. It was only in the nineteenth century that the word came to be used in the sense of speeding up the process of dying and the destruction of so-called useless lives. Today it is defined as the deliberate ending of life of a person suffering from an incurable disease. A distinction has been made between positive, or active, and negative, or passive, euthanasia. Positive euthanasia is the deliberate ending of life; an action taken to cause death in a person, such as a physician assisting. Passive euthanasia is defined as the withholding of life-preserving procedures and treatments that would prolong the life of one who is incurably and terminally ill and couldn't survive without them. This would be in the form of the disconnection of life support machines. The word euthanasia becomes a respectable part of our vocabulary in a subtle way, via the phrase "death with dignity."Tolerance of euthanasia is not limited to our own country. A court case in South Africa, s. v. Hatmann (1975), illustrates this quite well. A medical practitioner, seeing his eighty-seven year old father suffering from terminal cancer of the prostate, injected an overdose of Morphine and Thiopental, causing his father's death within seconds. The court charged the practitioner guilty of murder because "the law is clear that it nonetheless constitutes the crime of murder, even if all that an accused had done is to hasten the death of a human being that was due to die in any event." In spite of this charge, the court simply imposed a nominal sentence, that is,...

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