Euthanasia: An End To Misery Essay

1462 words - 6 pages

“Thomas More, in describing a utopian community, envisaged such a community as one that would facilitate the death of those whose lives had become burdensome as a result of ‘torturing and lingering pain’” (Voluntary Euthanasia). Euthanasia is an act that would be used to relieve suffering patients. Before one can argue for or against the legalization of euthanasia, he must understand the difference between the different types of euthanasia: active versus passive, voluntary versus non-voluntary and involuntary, and euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. First, “active euthanasia occurs when something is done with the specific intention of ending a person‘s life, such as injecting a lethal medication,” while “passive euthanasia occurs when interventions that might prolong life are withheld, such as deciding against connecting a dying person to a life support” (Euthanasia- Euthanasia: History, Controversy, Facts). Second, voluntary euthanasia is when a competent person asks for help to end his life, while non-voluntary euthanasia is when a person is not competent to make the decision for himself, and involuntary euthanasia is when the patient is completely against euthanasia (National Right to Life). There is even a difference between euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, as euthanasia describes “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals,“ while physician-assisted suicide is when a person is giving the tools needed to end his own life by a physician (Suicide, Euthanasia, and Physician-Assisted Suicide). Although involuntary euthanasia should never be viewed as permissible, all other kinds of euthanasia should be legalized with the aid of living wills, giving the suffering patient the deserved right to determine his own death.
One of the frequently used arguments by pro-life advocates is the belief that the legalization of euthanasia would lead to legalized murder and possibly eugenics (Euthanasia: History, Controversy, Facts). The concern over the possibility of eugenics stems from examples in history, the main one being Hitler and the wiping out of certain ethnic groups as well as the mentally disabled and the crippled. Hitler did euthanize people in order to get rid of groups that he viewed as inferior to others; however, the argument based off of this evidence stating that legalizing euthanasia will lead to eugenics is a slippery slope fallacy. The situation involving the Nazis was an extreme condition that would not resurface just because people are legally allowed to choose to end their own lives if they are suffering. In the same way that eugenics is very unlikely to reappear as a dangerous issue, legalized murder will not be a major concern if euthanasia is legalized. Although the families of people who are not competent enough to make the decision for themselves would choose whether or not to end the person’s life, there would be an incomparably larger percentage of people...

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