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Argument In Favor Of Euthanasia Essay

2080 words - 8 pages

Debate about the morality and legality of voluntary euthanasia has been a phenomenon since the second half of the 20th century. The ancient Greeks and Romans did not believe that life needed to be preserved at any cost and were tolerant of suicide in cases where no relief could be offered to the dying or when a person no longer cared for their life (Young). In the 4th century BC, the Hippocratic Oath was written by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. One part of the Oath states, “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause and abortion” (Brock). For 2,400 years, physicians made these solemn promises. Until very recently the Hippocratic Oath was taken by all new physicians. It was a rite of passage. It has only been the last 100 years that there have been concerted efforts to make legal provision for voluntary euthanasia. The word “euthanasia” comes from two Greek words, “eu” meaning good or easy and “thanatos” meaning death (all.org). Traditionally, euthanasia meant painless death or death without suffering. Today, the term has many names, the main one being mercy killing. Assisted suicide has been legally tolerated in Switzerland for many years (Kimsma). In the 1970-1980’s a series of court cases in the Netherlands culminated in an agreement between the legal and medical authorities to ensure that no physician would be prosecuted for assisting a patient to die as long as certain guidelines were strictly met. In brief, the guidelines were established to permit physicians to practice voluntary euthanasia in those instances in which a competent patient had made a voluntary and informed decision to die, the patient's suffering was unbearable, there was no way of making that suffering bearable that was acceptable to the patient, and the physician's judgments as to diagnosis and prognosis were confirmed after consultation with another physician. In 1988 there was an unsuccessful attempt to get the question of whether is should be made legally permissible on the ballot in California. In November 1991 votes in the state of Washington defeated widely publicized referendum proposal to legalize both voluntary active euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The decision for euthanasia should rest fully with the patient. In terms of euthanasia there are many factors that come into play when deciding; the different types of euthanasia, the ethical issues behind euthanasia, and the legal standpoints.
There are different types of euthanasia. There is voluntary active euthanasia, in which a clearly competent patient makes a fully voluntary and persistent request for aid in dying. Appraising active euthanasia from a virtue perspective can offer a more compassionate approach to the predicament of practitioners and clients (Begley). Involuntary euthanasia is when a competent patient explicitly refuses or opposes receiving euthanasia. This method is the commonly...

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