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Legalization Of Euthanasia: Dying With Dignity

1830 words - 7 pages

Euthanasia is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.” However, despite its merciful nature the practice of euthanasia is still illegal in most of North America, due to fears of its abuse, religious conflicts, and archaic societal values. The legalization of euthanasia in Canada would allow patients who are suffering or who are unable to maintain any kind of quality of life (as well as their families) to accept death with dignity and minimal emotional trauma, lower healthcare costs as public resources would no longer be expended on those who no longer contributed to society, would allow doctors to execute the most humane and compassionate option for patients who wish it without fear of legal repercussions, and finally, would impose regulations for those seeking to end their life to ensure that the process was carried out in the most humane way possible. Euthanasia is not simply the ending of a life, but an individual being offered the most control over their own body possible; the ability chose between life and death, and to put an end to their own suffering.
Death can be an extremely traumatic process for both the dying and their family, however euthanasia provides and alternative option which is humane and can bring a sense of control back into the remaining life of the patient, and the grieving process of the family. Such as in the case of Matthew Theroux, a severely brain damaged infant born in the US, evidence of the severe emotional trauma inflicted on his family by his suffering can be seen in an article published in the LA Times as his grandmother, Phyllis Theroux, states "He will never be able, as a human being, to know with his intelligence, love with his will, or serve God.” This shows a precedence of quality of life over the mere event of life in today’s society, something which has not previously been common.
Terminal illnesses and other such incidents can potentially result in a great deal of suffering for patients over a long period of time. Nancy Jecker, PhD stated “the advent of modern technologies gave physicians the power to produce effects that may not always be counted as benefits as the patients.” (p.8) The question that this raises is just because we have the ability to save a life, should we, even if the cost to the patient outweighs the possible benefit? This argument is one which calls to light the importance of the “value” of merely being physically alive versus the quality of the life being lived. The way in which society defines life is changing. Whereas in previous generations life was life and that was it, today’s society places the focus on the quality of that life. Karine Lalieux, a member of the Belgian House of Representatives stated that “It is our responsibility to allow everyone to live and die with...

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