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Euthanasia Debate: It's About Autonomy Essay

1009 words - 4 pages

Easily one of the most controversial topics of our time, euthanasia tends to arouse emotional debate. However, there should be a very practical approach to this subject that puts the value of individual free will above the will of religion. Even if euthanasia is immoral, it still should not be prohibited by law, since if a patient wants to die, that is strictly a personal affair, regardless of how foolish or immoral the desire might be (Nichols). My position is almost identical, for I do believe there are some instances in which euthanasia is immoral, such as if it is not the person's will and is involuntary, but I also believe it should unquestionably be legal upon request.Society has its own moral obligation to respect individual autonomy when we can do so without infringing upon the rights of others. In the constitution we are guaranteed life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It would seem a contradiction then to prevent someone's pursuit of happiness that involves liberation from one's own life. Because we believe that life is intrinsically valuable only as a result of its ability for rational decision-making a free will, it should not be acceptable to prolong a with no intrinsic value. Out of respect for one's free will and rationality, a person should have the right to determine their own medical treatment, including euthanasia.Of course, this brings about the question of determining the actual free will that any person has in making decisions concerning medical treatment. Since our argument rests in the hands of autonomy, it is important that patients are given some sort of psychological test to evaluate their rationality. People who are mentally ill or who are unable to perform such a test should not be given the opportunity for euthanasia, simply because they are not in the position to evaluate their quality of life. There is the opportunity for too many complications if we allow others to decide for the patient their value of life, so we must only allow euthanasia for those who still possess rational free will. We certainly do not want money-grubbing family members calling the shots, nor do we want frustrated doctors do so in an effort to save themselves time.The main case here lies in the suffering of unrelenting and continual pain that a terminal illness patient must endure. It should be considered morally disgusting to watch another person suffer through humiliating helplessness and constant pain when one could prevent it. It is widely considered humane to put animals that are permanently physically impaired to death, and they do not even have the free will of humans. We need to allow people to receive the same mercy under law if they request it. Confronted with suffering which is wholly destructive in its consequences, there should definitely be a morale obligation to end it.Much of the opposition to our stance on euthanasia is deep rooted in religion. People claim that euthanasia is playing God and taking precious life....

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