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Should euthanasia be legalised?

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Introduction

Should euthanasia be legalised? The definition of euthanasia is a 'good easy death.' The word derives from the Greek word meaning 'dying well'. It means to end a person's life without pain, especially when the person is suffering an incurable painful illness. Euthanasia is illegal in this country. However, many individuals and groups like the Voluntary Euthanasia Society lobby parliament are trying to make it legal. There are two forms of euthanasia, voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia is when the person themselves asks to die, and involuntary euthanasia is when other people decide when a person's life is going to end. In this essay I aim to construct an argument, debating whether or not euthanasia should become legal. I will fulfil my task, showing examples of why euthanasia should be either legal or illegal, with the aid of illustrations such as graphs and statistics. By doing this I hope that anyone who may read it will understand just how serious euthanasia really is. Euthanasia does take place and is selected voluntarily by patients who are in great pain due to an incurable illness like cancer. Usually the decision is made to pull the plugs of machines which prolong life or to end treatment, because patients select to die, their deaths end suffering, and there is no intention to cause harm, so physician assisted euthanasia cannot be considered murder. ...read more.

Middle

Which is probably the reason why it is illegal at present. To begin with, the law both civil and religious, forbid euthanasia, an example of this is the case of Robert Latimer. Although he claimed to have mercifully ended the life of his daughter who suffered from an extreme case of cerebral palsy, he was convicted of murder in the second degree. The courts were obliged to find him guilty as he broke the law by taking the life of another human being. Robert Latimer took it upon himself to decide that his daughter would never lead a full life. Tracey Latimer was never given an opportunity for success, as her life was taken. A not guilty verdict would have told people that parents of disabled children could perform voluntary euthanasia on their children. In addition, active euthanasia, if legalised will say okay to practising involuntary euthanasia as well. Presently, there is much research being done concerning the need for euthanasia and its effects. Also, euthanasia contradicts the point of medicine. Doctors cannot be expected to heal as well as kill. The purpose of medicine is to get rid of suffering and death. Euthanasia is in contrast to this purpose, and over time euthanasia would corrupt the medical system. There are indeed many alternatives to euthanasia. Aside from drug therapy and hospitalisation, psychological treatment and palliative care are replacements. ...read more.

Conclusion

Voluntary euthanasia gives the medical practitioner power, which can be too easily abused, and a level of responsibility he should not rightly be entitled to have. Voluntary euthanasia makes the doctor the most dangerous man in the world. To conclude, we need to recognise that requests for voluntary euthanasia are extremely rare in situations where the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients are properly met. As the symptoms which prompt the request for euthanasia can be almost always managed with therapies currently available, our highest priority must be to ensure that top quality terminal care is readily available. While recognising the importance of individual patient autonomy, history has clearly demonstrated that legalised euthanasia poses serious risks to society as a whole. Patients can be coerced and exploited, the search for better therapies is compromised and involuntary euthanasia inevitably follows. Legalisation allowing voluntary euthanasia should be firmly resisted on the grounds that it side steps true compassionate care (because effective alternatives exist) and ultimately undermines rather than protects patient autonomy. Hopefully this has given you a good insight into what euthanasia really is, and I have come to a final verdict that euthanasia should not be legalised due to the greater amount of information, against it, all of which is very supportive. 5 Resources: www.euthanasia.com www.religioustolerance.org www.cmf.org.uk Glasgow Herald NOP Poll Roper Poll Roy Morgan Research Centre Poll Voluntary Euthanasia Society Glasgow PAS report British Social Attitudes report Euthanasia Today article ...read more.

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