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Should voluntary euthanasia be legalised?

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Introduction

Should voluntary euthanasia be legalised? When considering this question it is very important to take into consideration that the debate on the legalisation of euthanasia is not a simple one. There are many issues to be considered, for example it is important to look at the religious, political, medical and ethical aspects. When discussing this delicate issue one must first clarify exactly what voluntary euthanasia is. Voluntary euthanasia is the ending of the life of another person at their request. At present this is against the law in Britain, therefore any doctor, nurse or healthcare assistant who aided a person to die would be charged with murder. However this may not be the case in the future if pro euthanasia groups succeed in changing the laws on voluntary euthanasia, bringing Britain into line with countries such as Holland where euthanasia is legal. In order to answer the question "Should voluntary euthanasia be legalised" both sides of the debate must be dealt with. Many groups believe that legalising voluntary euthanasia "would widen the choices available at the end of life, and enable incurably ill adults to take control over the manner and timing of their own death. " This quote was taken from a fact sheet published by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, who campaigns for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia. ...read more.

Middle

A patient suffering from a terminal illness is very vulnerable. Commonly under the influence of very powerful medication the patient is more than likely to lack the knowledge and skills to make such important decisions. It is a well-known fact that the terminally ill also suffer from fear and anxiety over the effect their illness is having on their family. On top of this decision-making will probably be affected by confusion and dementia. How then can patients suffering from terminal illnesses make rational decisions regarding their future? People should never be put in a position where they think that the best option for themselves and their families is to receive voluntary euthanasia. When considering the option of euthanasia patients must remember that there is hope, terminally ill patients do not believe that they will ever come to terms with their disabilities, however this is not necessarily the truth. Many patients do indeed adapt to their situation and have a good quality of life, something they would never have anticipated. The fact that the weakest most vulnerable people within our society feel that it would be best for all concerned if they were to receive voluntary euthanasia worries me, and shows an awful lot about the kind of society we live in. Before any hasty decisions are made and euthanasia is legalised in Great Britain, we must deal with the fine line between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. ...read more.

Conclusion

Voluntary euthanasia is proven to actually give more power to doctors, power that could be very dangerous. The information that doctors give their patients, information about diagnosis, treatments available and degree of suffering could cause an increase in the number of requests for voluntary euthanasia. The danger here is that doctors do make mistakes. New treatments are always being developed and it is just possible that the doctor may not be up-to-date in treatment control. It is possible that the legalisation of euthanasia would lead to the doctor becoming the most powerful man in the country, a god like figure. When considering the question "Should voluntary euthanasia be legalised?" it is important to recognise that cases of euthanasia are extremely rare in situations where the physical and emotional needs of the patient are met. In order to address the problem of euthanasia as a society we need to ensure that we provide top quality healthcare with an aim to increase the standard of living terminally ill patients have. We must also remember that although there are some positive sides to this debate history has shown that the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia poses huge risks to the society we live in today. In my opinion the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia should be firmly resisted. Not only does it undermine medical research, give too much power to doctors but also it also it completely undermines the compassionate care available from alternative treatments. Thomas Parry -1- ...read more.

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