Euthanasia is among one of the most controversial topics which is yet to be reached a consensus by the people who argue in favor of it and those who are against it. In some cases it is defines as a barbaric act while in others it is justified by setting free some one of his or her misery. In simple words Euthanasia can be defined as “the act or practice of putting to death painlessly a person suffering from an incurable disease.” (An argument for Euthanasia, 2008).
The entire controversy regarding Euthanasia revolves around the issue of legality, moral values and religion. People argue that if legalized the choice of their life will be given to other people who may use it unethically to kill those whom they have a bias against. Another reason is regarding the religious aspect of life. Some religions see life as a gift from God and do not give man the authority to take life at his own will.
“The word Euthanasia means a "good death," . ."beneficial death" or a ‘dignified death’." (Neal Bernards, page 153.). Euthanasia can be practiced in a number of ways. one can be defined as passive Euthanasia which is carried out to hasten the death of a person. For example by removing a patient from life support or in some cases by stopping food and water or any sort of medicine which is helping to keep the patient alive.
The controversy surrounding Euthanasia can be broadly categorized in to two arguments, one in favor of Euthanasia and the other against it. We will briefly shed light on both of these arguments.
“Pro-lifers readily agree that anyone should have the right to refuse medical treatment if he believes the side effects, whether pain or the burden of being tied to some machine or whatever are worse than the disease. This includes two types of people, One: People who, perhaps because of a serious illness or perhaps for reasons unrelated to their illness, are extremely depressed and say they want to die and Two: People who are suffering from illnesses that make them unable to communicate. This includes people who are in a coma, or paralyzed, or simply so sick and weak that they cannot make meaningful sounds or other communication. The pro-euthanasia people say that such patients’ ‘quality of life’ is so low that they are better off dead and they should be killed.” (Jay Johansen, 6 Sep 2000.)
People who argue against euthanasia say that if legalized it can become an issue of cost containment and government saving rather than providing long term care to serious patients or those who do not have health insurance.
It is now time to solve the maze surrounding euthanasia. Proper research is required in this regard to ensure that on one hand the intolerable pain of people can be eliminated while on the other thee religious and ethical aspects of ending one’s life are fully considered. In the end we must remember that there are limits to how much one can devote resources for the incurable, however this should by no means lead to callously ending the life of those who deserve to live.
“An argument for Euthanasia”, retrieved 21 May, 2008, http://www.directessays.com/viewpaper/63281.html
Neal Bernards “Euthanasia”, page 153, http://www.freeessays.tv/c4781.htm
Jay Johansen, 6 Sep 2000, Euthanasia: a Case of Individual Liberty ?, http://www.pregnantpause.org/euth/liberty.htm