Time and time again we are faced by the controversial question as to whether euthanasia should be legalised. Should we be allowed to end someone’s life or allow them to end it? Is it a favour, good deed, or just pure murder? Are all types of euthanasia bad or good? Euthanasia, which is illegal in most countries, is when one ends their life by means of medicine. It is a major debated issue because of both the fact it has numerous ethical problems connected to it, and because of what its meaning comprises of. There are four main forms of euthanasia.
These are: indirect euthanasia; voluntary and involuntary euthanasia; active and passive euthanasia; and assisted suicide. Indirect euthanasia, commonly referred to as double effect, involves providing a patient with drugs that have the side-effect of speeding their death. The most common types of drugs are those intended for pain relief. Voluntary euthanasia involves ending someone’s life with their consent. Involuntary euthanasia involves ending someone’s life even though they have chosen life. This regularly described as murder but there are certain circumstances where it is required.
Non-voluntary euthanasia is used when the person is too young or is unconscious and therefore cannot make a significant choice whether to live. An appropriate person makes the decision on their behalf. Active euthanasia occurs when a person intentionally takes away a person’s life. Passive euthanasia occurs when a person takes a person’s life indirectly. They allow them to die. Assisted suicide is when someone provides another person the means to kill themselves. This could be because of a disability the person may have or simply because the person does not know what to take. There are two sides of euthanasia.
There those for it and those against. Those against argue that euthanasia is bad and should not be legalised. They use many arguments that range from ethical to historical. Some cases in the past where euthanasia had been abused is when the Nazi’s started off by killing mentally ill but then gradually progressed. By no time, they were massacring Jewish people. Furthermore, they say that it is against the will and the word of god. Islam in particular is completely opposed to euthanasia. It says in the Quran that a person should not, by self will, come to know the time of his/her death.
It also says that life is sacred and that suffering is a test from Allah. If you are suffering, you should ask Allah for help. “We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss of wealth and lives and the fruits of your work; but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who, when a misfortune overtakes them do not lose heart, but say: To Allah we belong and to Him is our return. “- Surah 2:155-156. Moreover, legalising euthanasia may expose the elderly and other weak members of society to pressure from egotistic families.
It may also expose them to the thought that euthanasia is the only option if they feel depressed. Those for euthanasia argue that it is good and should be legalised. They argue people can that prepare laws and procedures that will avoid the exploitation of euthanasia. In addition to this they say that people have a right to die. This is because they say that having a right to live means that they do not have to exist. They have complete control of their body and can therefore end their lives whenever they like. However, this is only by law and is objected by many religious groups.
Also, it does not apply to involuntary euthanasia as involuntary euthanasia involves ending someone’s life after they have chosen life. On top of this, they say that death is only one phase of the human life. After death, the person enters the after-life. Ellen Wilkie, an actress and Christian writer, described death, “Death is not a full stop, it’s a comma. If you look at the whole life, death is an activity in the middle. It is not and end. ” Ellen suffered incurable muscular dystrophy throughout her life. If you think deep enough, death is a bad thing because most people like to live and do not want to die.
But what about the fraction of people that does wish to die. There is major difference between sanctity of life and quality of life and which one has more value. Sanctity of life is the idea that all life is sacred and is argued mainly by those who are on the side of the life, the pro-life in political and ethical debates. Quality of life is a term given to describe how well-being a person is. It can judged by ones financial status and other material possessions; ones ability to do certain things or disabilities; or by their spiritual status. It is the quality of life that drives people into euthanasia.
Whether it is the quality of life, or sanctity of life is more important depends on the person. People argue that God created people so that they may enjoy life, and this means that if they do not enjoy life, the whole objective of life has not been achieved and they need not live. These are the people that believe quality of life is more significant. On the other hand, people argue that God created people so that they may be preserved until God wants them to. Every human is precious and sacred and any pain they may endure is a lesson from God.
This is also taught in the Quran and these people are those who believe that sanctity of life is more significant There are legislations in the U. K. on euthanasia. In the U. K. , there is a major division between passive and active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is legal as it does not directly involve taking away someone’s life. This also applies to assisted suicide. However, directly taking away someone’s life, active euthanasia, is illegal, even if you have the permission of the person. I believe that involuntary euthanasia should be made completely illegal.
Killing someone after they have chosen life is murder. If a person wants to live, he should be allowed to live. Even if he only has short amount of time and will have to endure unbearable pain. It is his/her choice as to whether he/she should live. I read an example of a circumstance where involuntary euthanasia would be required. It was about a person who was on a 10th floor of a building that was on fire. The person’s clothes were on fire and the fire brigade had not yet arrived. This person was screaming for help and a passer notices the person and realises that the person will suffer agonising pain from burns.
He has a rifle with him and shoots the person dead. This is still a circumstance where involuntary euthanasia should not be used. The person was screaming for help, not for the passer to shoot him. The circumstances could have changes in the few seconds the person would have had to live. The passer could have shouted out to the person to jump and if this was the case and the person did jump, he would have probably only broken a leg or if he did die, at least it wasn’t the person that killed him. There would have been a probability that the person would have survived.
There are many alternatives to euthanasia. With the exception of drug therapy and admitting someone in hospital, psychological therapy and palliative care are substitutes for euthanasia. This includes kindness, consideration and support for family and friends. One of the main reasons why people resort to euthanasia is because they feel that they do not live up to their society’s standards. Many disabled people lead satisfying lives if their scale of achievement was not looked down by the rest of the general public.
A woman who suffered from a condition known as cerebral palsy, which is condition that causes damage to the brain and prevents you from controlling your muscles, said “What I have not been able to accept is the way people treat me and the feeling that I’m a burden to my family and myself”. These kinds of people that have similar dilemmas need emotional support and need to understand a reason for their life. Besides emotional strengthening, the amount and accessibility of care must be increased.
If the person who is ending the life has the permission of the person who is going to die, I think it should be allowed. However, their should be rules on this e. g. 2 or more doctors picked at random must ensure that there is no other method to save the person or that the person will suffer great amounts of pain. We should try and prevent euthanasia as much as we can. We should try all alternatives and experiment in all other ways before carrying out euthanasia. Instead of euthanasia, we should be helping people out of their misery, not simply putting them out of it.