Euthanasia is an arising moral contemporary issue. A brief definition of euthanasia would be the intentional termination of life by another at the explicit request of the person who dies" (Netherlands State Commission on Euthanasia). This may look like an only solution to many people whose lives are seemingly wasting away, or have been fully spent. Whether we should let such people die is an argument that is yet to mature. As sincere as this plea may sound, there are certain things to consider should euthanasia be legalized and things run out of hand. Hence this paper will look at the dangers of legalizing voluntary euthanasia.
In a recent survey carried out in the US, where euthanasia is still illegal, most of those in favor of legalization of voluntary euthanasia or PAS (Physician Assisted Suicide), are males aged between 18 and 44 (Yuill, 2000). Thus it looks like the younger generation is the driving force behind euthanasia. It is also worth comparing this with a study done in Holland, where euthanasia has been decriminalized since 1986, which revealed that only 2-3% of patients with terminal illness request euthanasia (Yuill, 2000). Rather those fighting hard for the legalization of PAS are relatives and friends of those who are suffering. This shows that as usual, humans will do anything to get to their comfort zone, and more so, the younger generation. The past generations believed they could face just about any challenge that came their way. Why is it then that people do not want to go an extra mile to fight for their dear lives? The most appealing solution may sound like terminating a miserable, agonizing life; yet running away from the problem does not solve the problem. This has gradually weakened humanity’s will to struggle for life to the very end, taking with it the quality of human life.
It is not uncommon now, for some to relativize death, as if it were no better than life itself. This is what has resulted in large-scale killing of old people in Holland. Surprisingly, as observed recently in Holland, the number of euthanasia deaths reported are only half of the actual number of deaths that take place from the same cause. The extra deaths are involuntary deaths of patients, killed because their doctors thought they would be better off dead than alive (Saunders). According to the Remmelink Report (Van der Maas, 1991), commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, there were over 3,000 deaths from euthanasia in the Netherlands in 1990. More than 1,000 of these were not voluntary This is a classic example of the slippery slope argument, where the slope dipped steeply this time on the Dutch when legalizing of euthanasia led to the unforeseen increase of involuntary euthanasia. The slippery slope argument is not based on empirical evidence, rather it is from intuitive obviousness. It is the kind of uncertain feeling that one would get from boarding a train whose frightening destination is...