• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Evaluate the Ethical Arguments For and Against Voluntary Euthanasia

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Evaluate the Ethical Arguments For and Against Voluntary Euthanasia Euthanasia is defined as an 'act of killing someone painlessly to relieve his or her suffering'1. It's etymology is derived from the Greek 'eu thanatos' which means a good death. It is a contentious issue that provokes strong arguments for and against changing UK legislation to permit it. The UK currently prohibits active euthanasia. Active euthanasia is an act where the intention is to end or deliberately shorten someone's life. A doctor will administer a drug such as morphine or potassium chloride. Such an act is considered to be murder and a doctor found guilty of this offence faces a long prison sentence. An extremely significant case which played a part in determining whether voluntary active euthanasia is illegal was the case of Dr Cox. His patient Lilian Boyes, who was seventy years old and suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis, asked him to kill her. She was expected to die within a matter of days, but the pain she was suffering from was unbearable. Out of compassion he gave her a lethal dose of potassium chloride. As there was a possibility that she could have died from other causes due to her condition, he was only charged with attempted murder. Some people may believe that this case was unfair and the fact that Dr Cox was acting out of mercy and compassion should act in favour for him. Even with modern pain control people can still suffer right to the end of life. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore a crippling illness is not enough to take away the intrinsic value of life. They say that ending our own life is rejecting Gods sovereignty over our lives, and the freedom that God gives us should not stretch as far as being able to end our own lives. We do not have the right to die. This does not mean that we cannot allow ourselves to die by refusing harsh and unattractive medical treatment as it is seen as accepting one's fate.7 Roman Catholics believe that we do not have the kind of freedom necessary to take someone's life as we are made by God for the purpose of loving him. John Stuart Mill has views which are strongly against those of the Catholic Church. In his book 'On Liberty' he said that if someone is faced with a decision which does not directly affect others then the person should be given total autonomy. 8 Another reason for Catholics to believe that euthanasia is wrong is because of the fact that it is believed that suffering has a special place in God's plan. This is backed up by the idea that Jesus died on the cross and so if we suffer at the end of life, we are being connected to the suffering that Jesus felt. This doesn't mean that people should go out of their way to seek pain, but it does mean that a positive effect can be had on the individual. ...read more.

Conclusion

The recent incidents involving Dr Harold Shipman could also be repeated if voluntary euthanasia were legalised. He managed to kill dozens of elderly people and got away with it even under the current regulations. Some people believe that voluntary euthanasia may lead to other schemes carried out by the Nazis which involved the involuntary euthanasia of the sick, disabled and the elderly. When the constraints on killing are loosened, undesirable effects must occur. This is called the slippery slope argument. However this is fairly unconvincing as that situation has not occurred in Holland. 13 The final argument against voluntary euthanasia is the idea that it is totally contrary to the initial aim of medicine, to promote the health and life of people. The opposite act is being carried out and medical practitioners are failing at their jobs. These people should not be put in the position where society expects them to take a persons life. 1 'Collins Pocket English Dictionary'. 2 Withdrawal is to stop treatment, withholding is to never give it and both are seen as legally equal. 3 Tony Hope, Julian Savulescu, Judith Hendrick. 'Medical Ethics and Law'. pp157. 4 Campbell, Alistair. Gillet, Grant. Jones, Gareth. 'Medical Ethics-Third Edition'. pp200 5 Alison Davies. 'Briefing notes on voluntary euthanasia/assisted dying.' 6 In fact, the term 'best interest' is easily miss understood as meaning the patients 'wishes'. What it really means is what will preserve their health or prevent them from dying. 7 www.bbc.co.uk/print//religion/ethics/euthanasia/rcatholic.shtml 8 Robert A Bowie, 'Ethical Studies'. pp190. 9 'Declaration on Euthanasia' 1980. 10 www.hospicecare.com/Ethics/fohrdoc.htm 11 www.ves.org.uk 12 Glover, 1977, pp.92-93. 13 'Kusha', 1991, pp302. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sam D'Arcy ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Euthanasia section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Euthanasia essays

  1. My hypothesis: Euthanasia should be legalized in the UK.I am going to answer a ...

    You don't have the time to collect this amount of information and therefore it is useful if someone can do it for you. There is lots of information to look at and therefore you can investigate many of issues. You can answer all your key questions and it will also give you other areas that you can investigate.

  2. What is meant by euthanasia?

    they believe in the sacredness of life and that euthanasia is wrong but they also agree with the doctrine of Double Effect. "The administration of morphine is intended to relieve pain. The consequent shortening of life is foreseen but unintended" The House of bishops of the Church of England submitted

  1. What is meant by euthanasia?

    When faced with a patient who is terminally ill, doctors * Should not give anything with the deliberate intention of killing the patient; * But they may give pain relief, even if as a side effect of this life is shortened, as long as the patient does not become so confused that he or she cannot prepare properly for death.

  2. The Issues of Euthanasia in Whose Life Is It Anyway?

    Ken explains his decision to die to the Judge. He justifies this by saying, "it is a question of dignity. Look at me here. I can do nothing, but the basic primitive functions." Ken does not feel like a man anymore, and he feels the "hospitals persistent effort to maintain this shadow of life an indignity and it's inhumane."

  1. “An acceptance of the practice ofvoluntary euthanasia is incompatible with Christian belief in the ...

    This principle requires respect for patients' deliberated choices made in accordance with their own values, consciences, and religious convictions. Respect for patients' dignity and integrity, for honesty, and for promise-keeping are aspects of respect for autonomy. Respect for the autonomy of health care professionals is no less important and no

  2. Evaluate the ethical argument for and against keeping a person alive against his or ...

    are an acceptable argument as 'a desire to go on living as a reason against killing, so it must count a desire to die as a reason for killing'.3 The classical utilitarian objection does not deal with the action of killing but the genuine consent of the patient.

  1. Euthanasia should be legalised in Queensland under very strict conditions - Discuss.

    Adopting a law very similar to the Northern Territories blocked legislation would be a huge benefit to our society. This would give doctors and medical practitioners the ability to assist terminally ill patients under very strict conditions. These conditions should be the same as those outlined in the Northern Territory's

  2. I believe it is the right of any human being to be totally in ...

    As long as their is proof that this is THEIR decsion and not someone elses, then i think its fair If the person want to die then let them die, life is long and boring enough without having to suffer in pain at the very end of it Everybody deserves

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work