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Euthanasia Should Be A Legal Option

3434 words - 14 pages


Euthanasia is a controversial subject, not only because there are many different moral dilemmas associated with it, but also in what constitutes its definition. At the extreme ends of disagreement, advocates say euthanasia, also known as physician aid in dying, is a good or merciful death. Opponents of euthanasia say it's a fancy word for murder.

There are reasons that would make a person lean toward the side of euthanasia, and there are also reasons that would turn someone away from euthanasia. The arguments against euthanasia include the church's view on the topic of suicide. The arguments in favor of euthanasia include the patients wish to have dignity. However, regardless of the patients wishes, suicide is against the law. If a person has a living will, it would allow the doctors to lawfully end any life preserving treatment. Without a living will this cannot be done. The decision to allow a patient to end his or her life is clearly not an easy one. The courts feel that unless there is a living will to state what the patient would want to be done, the authorities must try to save the patient. The law does not require that everything must be done to keep a patient alive. Some people feel that keeping a patient alive against his or her wishes is not only cruel and inhumane, but it is also contrary to law and practice.

However, for centuries now, physicians in training have been taking the ?Hippocratic Oath?. This oath is taken from the Greek physician Hypocrites who lived thousands of years ago. The ?Hippocratic Oath? imposes on two duties: to prolong life, and relieve suffering. The problems come about because these two duties are often in conflict. The question most of the time is to decide when prolonging life should take precedence over relieving suffering. There is often much confusion and questions about the difference between physician aid in dying and physician assisted suicide. First I will talk about physician assisted suicide. ? Physician assisted suicide is the provision by a doctor, consciously and legally, to a patient who has competently requested it, the means for that patient to end his or her own life? (McCuen 12). I also found a definition on the World Wide Web that stated, ?In assisted suicide, a non-suicidal person knowingly and intentionally provides the means or acts in some way to help a suicidal person kill him or her.? I personally find the second definition a little bit easier to understand. An example of an assisted suicide is if a doctor writes a prescription for a drug that he or she knows will kill the patient. Physician aid in dying (euthanasia) is a little different from assisted suicide. ?Physician aid in dying is assisted by a qualified medical practitioner in implementing a patients considered wish to end his or her own life usually by means of lethal injection? (McCuen 13).
The stronger and more widely held opinion is against Euthanasia primarily because society feels that it is...

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