Euthanasia has been one of the most controversial and heatedly debated topics in healthcare and politics. The word Euthanasia means a “good death,”
“beneficial death” or a ‘dignified death’ (Bernards, pp.153). It’s an intentionally administered death to a patient of a fatal injury or disease and is administered with the consent of the patient/victim and their relatives, although there have been cases where it has been done without consent. It’s a controversial policy topic for policymakers, politicians, lawyers, and the medical community and has been legalized in several states of the USA, whereas in many states, it remains violently protested against the notion and has been tagged as physician-assisted suicide (Balch, 2006). There are many aspects of euthanasia, with voluntary euthanasia being on the request of the patient and involuntary where no such request is made and no consent is asked for (or given).
The pros on the other hand provide quite interesting perspectives on the issue. Proponents can give almost every counter-statement to everything the opponents have to say to vilify the practice of euthanasia. The basic of all healthcare intentions is to relieve the sufferer’s suffering. This is should entail putting an end to the pain and torture of perpetual illness by administering peaceful death. This also follows a basic question of freedom of choice, everyone should have the right to choose for themselves, their life and death, and the government should not interfere in such crucial and personal decisions. (ProCon.org, 2009).
There have been numerous and many intense debates for and against euthanasia, with equal merit on both sides and pro-euthanasia thinkers being called merciless and those lacking faith and other godly considerations. The most popular arguments against euthanasia include the derogation of human life and disregard for an individual’s right to live. The most heavily criticized of all such similar actions is involuntary euthanasia which bears the brunt of all severe protests against the issue, with involuntary euthanasia being dubbed as the deprivation of an individual of their basic right to live and die fully. This is the notion most historians and policymakers hold. The slippery slope phenomenon is also a famous theory against the question of legalizing euthanasia, ascertaining that the practice might be extended to people who are terminally ill to people who could be saved otherwise but eat up a lot of resources which makes it open to economic considerations as opposed to ethical/human ones. Also, 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. Another stand very popular among the medical community is that the crucial healthcare rule is the will to health and quality life and the abstinence of willing anything which may prove detrimental to an individual. (Robinson, 2007).
Looking at both sides introduces some personal concerns in the mind regarding whether one should be given the right to live and die or not. Both above such abstract and seemingly complex considerations is one more objective and more critical factor that needs to be taken into account while deciding the fate of euthanasia and policies regarding its legality. Looking at the issue from a governmental and economical perspective, facilities administered to terminally ill patients are usually very expensive and exhaust the already scarce resources at hand. So even if deliberately putting an end to a patient who’s already proceeding slowly toward a painful, hopeless end might seem selfish and hurried, it’s wise to sometimes give up such considerations in regard for the ‘greater good that can come out of such decisions. It’s rather important to free up resources for people who have hope of recovery and need them to lead better lives as opposed to people who’re immune to all cures and expensive treatments and end up becoming a burden to society.
- Burke J. Balch, J. (2006). Why We Shouldn’t Legalize Assisting Suicide.
- Bernards, N. (n.d). Euthanasia, page 153. Web.
- ProCon.org. (2009). Founding Fathers on Religion in Government.
- Robinson, B. (2007). euthanasia and physician assisted suicide.