Euthanasia Essay: Should It Be Allowed?
Euthanasia, also known as mercy killing, is an act of one person helping to end life of another person to relieve suffering and pain. Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been practised since the times of Ancient Greece. Voluntary death was supported and physicians gave their patients poison if they asked to end their pain. The ancient Greeks supported mercy killing if it was needed for the right reasons. Jewish and Christian thinkers, however, were against suicide and euthanasia, as only God is responsible for giving and taking the life of a man.
Here is an euthanasia essay covering the controversial opinions and sides.
For centuries, the concept of euthanasia was perceived as an act of relieving the pain and ensuring an easy death. In the late nineteenth century, however, euthanasia started being perceived as mercy killing. In the 19th century euthanasia and assisted suicide were perceived as a revolt against God’s will. In the 1920s euthanasia was no longer kept secret, as there appeared stories in newspapers of euthanasia cases and there was a movie shot on the topic. 1930s turned out to be an essential stage in the history of euthanasia in the USA. During these years the issue became a controversial matter for many discussions. 53% of Americans of that time strongly believed that doctors should be allowed to help terminally ill patients to end their suffering on their requests or their families’ requests. 62% of Americans during those times supported terminally ill patients and their rights to refuse medical treatment they did not want to take any longer.
Euthanasia was a matter of dispute not only in the USA, but in Britain as well. In 1936 a bill was passed to legalize euthanasia. It was rejected though by the British House of Lords. Many attempts to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide were made, but they all ended in failures because of the ethical values or religious beliefs in the society.
Many countries are locked in a dispute over the legalization of euthanasia. However, there is one country where advocates of euthanasia and assisted suicide won and it was legalized. This country is the Netherlands. It was calculated that 130,000 people die in the Netherlands and 49,000 of them die spending their last years on the life supporting machines. The Dutch conducted empirical studies on whether the dosage of morphine should be increased or assist in suicide or kill the patient. After these studies, euthanasia and assisted suicide were legalized in the country.
During the late centuries, advocates of euthanasia support this practice as killing the pain people suffer from. Many propose euthanasia as a compassionate treatment for pain. Some writers and thinkers believe that euthanasia and assisted suicide can be used to reduce suffering and actually stop the unstoppable, but with no pain. Many believe that life supporting machines only prolong suffering, so why not provide the patients with the relief from that pain. Some people create various organizations to support their opinions on euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Opponents of euthanasia believe that it is against ethical values. They believe that euthanasia and physically assisted suicide are absolutely wrong. In addition to that, others believe that physically assisted suicide leads humanity to the slippery slope.
There are many cases of physically assisted suicide. The case of Terri Shiavo is among those. Terri Shiavo was 26 year old when her brain was damaged. From 1990 to 1998 she was on life supporting machine with no progress. Her husband filled a petition to have her feeding tube removed. There was a long court battle, after which the tube was removed and Terri passed away 13 days later.
Euthanasia remains a divisive issue, as many societies differ in their social, religious, economic and ethical beliefs. Euthanasia is a concept to raise controversial opinions. Some say it is a violation of the ‘do no harm’ oath. Others believe that when physicians end the pain, they follow the oath as they, on the contrary, end the suffering. As long as humanity exists promoting different religious, social and political values, euthanasia and assisted suicide will remain an ethical dilemma for patients, doctors, families and the whole society.
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