Euthanasia: Why Legalize It When It Will Still Be Abused?

2087 words - 9 pages

The concept of euthanasia dates back to as early as Ancient Rome, where in that time period euthanasia was considered to be a crime of murder. However, euthanasia did not become an issue in the United States until the 20th century, when Dr. Jack Kevorkian came into the limelight (Bonin). As a result, in 1999, Jack Kevorkian was tried and convicted of second degree murder after assisting with as many as 130 suicides. Since then, the debate around the world has raged on whether euthanasia should or shouldn't be legalized. A few places in the world have legalized euthanasia, but even with legalizing there are still issues with abusing the use of euthanasia and also with patients' rights. Euthanasia should not be legalized because, even with safeguards and other legal implications in place, the positive intent of euthanasia cannot be protected from misjudgment and abuse.
With legalizing any type of procedure, there must be specific safeguards and other legal implications. However in the case of euthanasia, many of these safeguards and implications are not followed by the states or countries that have legalized euthanasia. Oregon, Washington State, the Netherlands, and Switzerland have all legalized euthanasia, all of which have laws that require consent, mandatory reporting of all cases, and a physician to administer the medications. Although these laws are present in most of these countries and states, almost 50% of the cases of euthanasia are not reported, and in a recent study in the Flemish part of Belgium, 66 out of 208 cases of euthanasia (32%) occurred in the absence of request or consent (Pereira). In another report, it was stated that legal requirements were more frequently not met in unreported cases in reported cases: a written request was more often absent in Switzerland (88% vs 18%) (Pereira). Oregon's euthanasia law states that doctors are not permitted to prescribe a lethal prescription under inappropriate conditions, such as depression or alcoholism, defined in the law, however in several Oregon cases the patients would "doctor shop" until finding one to write the prescription. All of these countries and states are perfect examples of why, even though euthanasia may be legal, sanctioned by legislators, and preformed by doctors, it can, is, and will continue to be abused (Bonin). If countries such as the Netherlands and Oregon have laws in place to help with abuse with 50% of the euthanasia cases are not properly being documented brings up the question why legalize it if half of the cases are not being reported and documented (Pereria).? Even with the extensive safeguards that so many of these countries and states have, it cannot prevent euthanasia from being abused once it is initially permitted (Hendin, 2000). If the laws and the procedures following the law are not being followed, then simply do not have the laws in the first place.
Euthanasia is allegedly supposed to provide those patients who request it, the choice of whether to...

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