Debate over Euthanasia: Reasons For and Arguments Against
Euthanasia, also commonly known as physician-assisted suicide, is a controversial topic among people. There are debates over whether it should be legal in the states, and it is currently illegal in most states. Physician-assisted suicide is when a physician gives lethal medication to a patient who is terminally ill, but the patient may only be given this option when they choose to end their lives willingly. The most common issues for and against euthanasia are doctor care, costs, morals, and rights.
There are several reasons as to why people opposed euthanasia. One of the main reasons was that it was thought that it would decrease the proper care for patients who are dying. Providing the lethal medication would conflict with the doctor’s practice, and how they were meant to care for their patients and assist in bettering their health. However, the doctors may soon become accustomed to supplying euthanasia and eventually decide it was a better option than treating the patient, which would soon lead them into lowering their concern for the ill. Not only that, but the patients might discover their doctors do not wish to help them, and this could cause conflict if the patient wants to get better instead of finding a way out (Sweetman, 2007). This could lead to pressure on them. On occasion, the patient may be pressured into choosing physician-assisted suicide either from their health care or from someone who was helping take care of them. Under Oregon’s law, it was said that the lethal injection would be paid for by the person’s health care (“International Anti-Euthanasia,” 2000). That showed that health care preferred to have patients choose euthanasia because it was cheaper than helping pay for the treatment the person needs. Those who are ill might have wanted to continue to fight the ailment they have, they may have been hopeful of being cured, or there were chances they could have gotten better had they been able to afford the treatment. This was why it was complicated to determine if the people choosing the medication were doing it for the right reasons. Another main factor for opposing the lethal medication was religion. Those who were religious made claims that God is the only one who should be the only one able to take away life, and no one else. If people committed suicide, then they should be punished for it (Hoffman, 2017). Human life is valuable, and it should not be destroyed. This viewpoint could also come from the patients themselves as they felt that it may be wrong to not die naturally. This stance would lead to a greater amount of people not wanting euthanasia, hence, the decrease in fighting to legalize euthanasia.
On the contrary, there were opinions concerning euthanasia should be legalized. People thought that doctors should want to do anything to make their patient feel comfortable despite it going against them trying to save lives. Through research, the Medscape poll revealed that more than half of the physicians support physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Also, there was no evidence that the lethal medication was being used inappropriately in either Oregon or Washington. The doctors ensured that the patients who requested euthanasia were aware of their decision before following through with the action (Klitzman, 2018). It showed that in the doctors were being responsible because they cared about their patients. People thought that euthanasia would allow those who were critically ill to have a sense of control over their illness because they might be feeling hopeless, or they thought they lacked a sense of dignity. By allowing them to choose between preserving their life or death, they could feel reassurance knowing they had the right to do what they wish. Otherwise, it would have been considered going against the people’s rights, and this meant that the government was a “tyrant and destroys freedom” (Hoffman, 2017). They believed that it was important for the people not to worry about the government interfering with their decisions. Also, if people were able to make their own decisions their entire life, that should not end. The other reason being for the use of euthanasia was that it might prevent suicides; the people would rather choose the safer option of going with the doctor than committing the act themselves. Although, that was not the main reason as to how it would prevent suicides. Instead, it was believed that once the patients met with a doctor, they might change their minds about ending their lives (Klein, 2011). This way it still would have been able to be their decision, but the physician-assisted suicide option would still be available for them if they ever decided to change their mind. Also, if the people left the hospital once they were denied the lethal medication, then they would simply commit suicide at home if they were desperate enough so the doctors should assist.
I believe euthanasia should be legal in all the states. The reason being is that if there’s no chance of getting better, I would rather have an assisted suicide. If there was the chance that I would be forced to be confined to the hospital bed with no chance of leaving it, I would not be able to enjoy the final moments I had to live. Not only would I result in suffering for the rest of the time I had left, but my family members would as well. It is understandable why patients would choose euthanasia to help prevent the costly hospital bill, and I understand because I would not want that for my parents either. The family might struggle financially, and it would be difficult to pay it off. Death would always be the final result, whether if it is run through its natural course or through physician-assisted suicide. Doctors have qualifications, and they should be able to help their patients, even if it means having to help end their lives. A person should have the right in determining when he or she want to end their life.
- Hoffman, R. (2017). Is euthanasia coming to Texas soon? Retrieved from https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/cleveland/opinion/article/Is-euthanasia-coming-to-Texas-soon-12385075.php
- International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force. (2000). Arguments for Euthanasia Are Unconvincing. In J. D. Torr (Ed.), Opposing Viewpoints. Euthanasia. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Euthanasia: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, www.iaetf.org/faq.htm, n.d.) Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.dcccd.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/EJ3010134216/OVIC?u=txshracd2500&sid=OVIC&xid=9ecaba1a
- Klein, E. (2011). The argument for, and against, euthanasia. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/the-argument-for-and-against-euthanasia/2011/05/19/AGqGN3KH_blog.html?utm_term=.1d1e7c0d9219
- Klitzman, R. (2018). The terminally ill should be allowed to die. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/28/opinions/physician-assisted-suicide-opinion-klitzman/index.html
- Sweetman, B. (2007). Two Arguments against Euthanasia. In Morris J. (Ed.), Medicine, Health Care, & Ethics: Catholic Voices(pp. 173-192). Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctt284ttn.16