Top 10 Reasons Euthanasia Should Be Legal Everywhere

Top 10 Reasons Euthanasia Should Be Legal Everywhere

 

Dying is not a crime” – Jack Kevorkian

Dr. Jack Kevorkian
Dr. Jack Kevorkian

Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

 

Euthanasia, from the Greek word meaning “good death”, is the practice of assisted suicide with the intention of relieving pain and suffering. Euthanasia is also known as mercy killing or physician assisted suicide. Like all things that deal with life and death, it has been a controversial subject of debate due to its seeming infringement of a person’s fundamental right to live. As a law, voluntary euthanasia is accepted in some countries, including some states in the United States and provinces in Canada. Euthanasia is also one of the most actively researched and debated subjects in modern bioethics. Surveys taken in the United States indicate that an estimated 46% of physicians agree that voluntary euthanasia should be allowed for certain situations, with 41% disagreeing altogether and 14% believe it to be circumstantial. Below are the key arguments for euthanasia, which highlight why it is our right as human beings as well as the benefits it presents.

10. People have the right to die.

Right to Die
Right to Die

Often, the discussion revolves around the right to life; anti-euthanasia proponents argue that euthanasia infringes on a person’s fundamental right to live. What they fail to see is that our “life” as human beings implies death. Without death, we do not have “human life” by its very definition. Like black and white or two sides of a coin, human life cannot occur without death. Therefore for those that argue that every man has the fundamental right to live, they unknowingly also agree that every man has the fundamental right to die.

Because we can determine the course of our lives by our own will, we have the right to live our lives and determine our own course. Naturally it follows that the same self-determining capacity we have as human beings also gives us the fundamental right to determine how we die. It is also important to consider that the right to life has no say over the right to die. The right to live and the right to die are two separate, although related rights. They are also mutually exclusive in the sense that the right to live concerns itself only with self-determined life and ends with the right to die. The right to die on the other hand begins where life ends in death. While you live, you exercise your right to life; when your life ends, you exercise your right to die. It is important to consider that we refer to self-determined or natural death and not death resulting from someone directly removing from you your life, thereby restricting your right to live. If such significant weight in this sense is given to our right to live, should we not also give equal weight to our right to die.

9. People have the explicit right to choose.

Right to Choose
Right to Choose

Beyond the philosophical implications of man’s right to live or die lies man’s explicit and fundamental right to choose. Everything is touched by this explicit right, from what you will have for breakfast to what you will believe, what your opinions are and what you do with your life. The society that man has built is founded on this very right, and evolves because our inherent nature is explored. Regardless of the outcome, no one can question our right to free will. The right to choose is fundamental and applies to all elements of “human life”, which by the nature of human life, includes the right to choose how you die. As an example, a terminally ill individual who is currently under significant pain may choose to die with dignity, as is his right. To deny him this is to deny him his personal autonomy and is an act that is trespassing on his humanity. While concepts such as dignity are defined by social majority, an individual, possessing all the rights of a human being, may perceive a dignified death to be preferable to constant suffering. He may decide on euthanasia, and this choice should be available to him. Very simply, this is his right to choose, as equally as he made his choices when faced with circumstances in life. It cannot be questioned should he decide to act on it. In the case of euthanasia, we simply request assistance to facilitate this right of choosing how to exit this world.

8. Euthanasia is not immoral.

Euthanasia is Moral
Euthanasia is Moral

For something to be immoral, it would have to violate moral laws or norms. The argument of anti-euthanasia proponents is that euthanasia is immoral because life must be preserved and protected. The preservation of life is, however, subject to the self-determined choice of the person and not the choice of the physician. As an example, murder infringes on a person’s right to life by taking away the element of choice in the persons death. No infringement is done when it is the person who chooses how to die. For a physician to deny the person his right to die when under intense pain and suffering is effectively forcing them to live a life without what they believe is their dignity, a life of suffering and eventual death (in the case of terminally ill patients). While the intentions may be good, no person has the right to demand of another person to live a life of suffering, in fact, that is immoral as it removes their right to choose. Euthanasia facilitates the choice making it in fact the compassionate choice and sympathetic to that person’s dignity. It is also important to note that those that argue to preserve life despite the patient being terminally ill and in extreme pain are usually not the patients themselves and therefore removed from the consequences of the decision.

7. Euthanasia protects self-hood and human dignity.

Euthanasia Preserves Dignity
Euthanasia Preserves Dignity

Self-determination is one of the key elements that make us human. It is the ability to determine our destiny as individuals and is facilitated by our ability to think for ourselves. Imagine a life where an illness has left you incapable of conducting the basics of life; you are unable to breathe, move or even think for yourself. You have effectively removed your ability to self-determine, arguably a significant element in being “human”. Our sense of “self” is created as we progress through life. We grow our personalities as human beings by our choices and experiences. This sense of self is the foundation of our human dignity.

Now, go back to the example of the person who can no longer breathe, move or even think for himself, and add the element of extreme and constant pain to the point where they prefer death to living this way. Over time, because of this experience, the person will eventually lose sight of their “self”, when they could move around, form opinions and self determine. This will all be a distant memory, and the most real thing to them will be the constant state of pain they are in. They won’t even be able to cry out in pain despite the pain. Seem far-fetched? Consider Tony Nicklinson, whose bid for euthanasia was rejected multiple times. Tony Nicklinson was diagnosed with a disease that prevented him from moving any and all muscles in his body. After his bid was denied, he decided to starve himself to death, which took a week without food. Another example is Kelly Taylor who starved herself for 19 days trying to die. Without the option of euthanasia, their quality of life will continue to deteriorate the same way Tony and Kelly had endured. They will eventually die, but in what state? Will they go out in a state of dignity? Euthanasia can provide them with the opportunity to finish their life keeping their human dignity intact.

6. Euthanasia does not harm to others.

Euthanasia should be considered a fundamental human right
Euthanasia should be considered a fundamental human right

Because people will naturally have different interests, it is not uncommon to have conflicts of interest. When conflicts arise, it is the goal of civilized society and the state to ensure the resolution of conflicts without the infringement of fundamental human rights. These rights are protected above all others and their infringement is punished severely. That being said, euthanasia as a choice infringes on no such fundamental rights. Death by its nature is a private affair. Assisted suicide (as is the case of euthanasia) involves direct harm and the termination of life only to the individual who has requested it. One cannot request euthanasia for another “competent” person. If this is the case, it will then be a question of murder instead. The process of euthanasia does not restrict or infringe on anyone’s fundamental rights and therefore does no harm.

5. Euthanasia is properly regulated.

euthansasia is regulated and can be regulated
euthansasia is regulated and can be regulated

Those who oppose euthanasia often cite the horror stories of patients being euthanized without consent or for unethical or impure reasons. Granted, the history of euthanasia is not without its fair share of horror stories and because of the gravity of its practice, it does need to be regulated. However, this is not reason enough to say that it cannot be properly regulated. Developed nations like the Netherlands have legalized euthanasia and have had only minor problems from its legalization. Any law or system can be abused, but that law and system can always be refined to prevent such abuse from happening. In the same way, it is possible to properly and effectively regulate euthanasia as various first world countries have done. More so because the process of euthanasia itself as it is being argued here, requires competent consent from the patient. It is important to consider the protection of both the physicians as well as the patients. The critical element in the regulation of euthanasia will be determining the line between what is considered to be euthanasia and what is considered to be murder.

4. Everyone has a right to a good death, therefore a good death must not be denied to those who want one.

Surrounded by Love Ones
Surrounded by Love Ones

Nobody thinks of their death and desires it to be extremely painful or horrible. Rational human beings desire a good, dignified end to an ideally long and fruitful life. Circumstance, like luck, may not always be in your favor. It may not even be a terminal disease, which is so frequently used in pro-euthanasia arguments. It can be as savage as a freak accident or as simple as falling down the stairs to put you in a world of excruciating pain. While this is never to be wished on anyone, for those that have had the misfortune of being diagnosed with a terminal or painfully debilitating disease must have a choice out of it. Do we, who so desire a good death, have the right to judge others’ state when we know nothing of it? Do we have the right to compare their experiences day by day, having experienced none of them, and say that they don’t deserve to die with dignity, the way they want to die? The answer is of course, no, we have no right to deny them the dignified death that we ourselves naturally desire. To do so would be selfish and we would effectively be imposing our own desires on that person, thereby restricting their freedom to self-determine even if it is in the most basic sense.

3. Euthanasia does not shorten lifespans by as much as is portrayed.

Euthansasia Doesn't Shorten Life Span
Euthansasia Doesn’t Shorten Life Span

Many arguments opposing euthanasia are based on the premise that the patient’s life should be preserved because of the possibility of their recovery. Statistics however, paint a different picture. A Dutch survey conducted in 1991 showed that 86% of Euthanasia cases only shortened the life of the patient by a maximum of 1 week. The standard time it shortened their life was by a few hours only. This clearly shows that terminal illness is statistically terminal. Add in the fact that in the majority of these cases, the patients were in extreme agony, the numbers show you that terminally ill patients are using euthanasia to end the suffering where they would have had near impossible chances of recovery. This is not the same as the ideal painted by opponents of euthanasia, wherein the patient may have a chance to survive and make a miraculous recovery. It is because the numbers are so heavily indicative of euthanasia as an out for terminally ill patients in terrible agony that it must be allowed as an option to end their suffering.

2. Euthanasia saves lives.

Euthansasia Saves Lives
Euthansasia Saves Lives

Sound shocking? Consider this: a 2005 study of euthanasia in the Netherlands found that 0.4% of all euthanasia was done without consent from the patient. By the time this study was done, euthanasia had been legalized in the Netherlands. Now consider another study done in 1991 which was done before euthanasia was legalized which indicated that 0.8% of euthanasia done in the Netherlands was done without the patients consent. This shows that the legalization of euthanasia actually had the reverse of the expected effect and cut the unacceptable practice of no consent euthanasia in half. By these numbers, euthanasia has in fact saved lives since it now provides a protected and regulated framework with which doctors must first obtain explicit consent before conducting euthanasia. This same framework makes it more difficult and less grey for those seeking to perform euthanasia with impure or irresponsible intentions.

1. The Hippocratic oath supports euthanasia.

Euthansasia consistent with Hippocratic Oath
Euthansasia consistent with Hippocratic Oath

Most people misinterpret the Hippocratic oath as being against euthanasia. The key element of the oath is that the physician must protect the wellbeing of their patient, hence the maxim “do no harm” commonly interpreted to be a summation of the oath. Most interpretations of the “harm” element are however taken to literally refer to the patient’s life. It can be argued that harm in this case refers to the wellbeing of the patient, which includes his life. However in cases where it is a choice between intense suffering or death, it can be argued that the physician is doing more harm to the patient by not allowing them to die. While this argument can go either way, updated interpretations of the Hippocratic oath do include a segment that concerns taking life as well as preserving it:

“Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.”

–Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University

From a philosophical aspect, man seems to have some pathological fear of death, so much so that he views intense suffering, until he is actually suffering himself, as preferable to death. Such fear of death tends to create a mythical status of death in our minds that we often forget that to die is also to exist as a human being. It is the finite nature of our lives brought about by the immovable and inevitable wall of death that gives every second of our time spent on this earth its most powerful purity. Death, like life exists as part of our cycle of human existence.

 

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below.  And don’t miss ListLand.com’s opposing view:  10 Reasons Euthanasia Should Be Illegal 

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  • yoedle

    Euthanasia may mean “good death” but it will shorten lifespan so many people of all ages will be sick with scarlet fever or something, and will think it will never end or the pain is unbearable and will ask for euthanasia. Euthanasia will hurt people around you how would you like to wake up one morning and be told you will never see your son/daughter/mother/father/sister/brother? I know that I would be crying for days.

    • jeannie macleod

      There is clearly restrictions on Euthanasia and not just anybody can be euthanized. A doctor must assess one to come to a conclusion on whether or not the state of that patient is in fact worthy of being euthanized. The reason it is taking so long to legalize (at least in Canada and it is being legalized here) is because there has to be rules set so that what you stated cannot happen. It is not possible. People that are depressed and who commit suicide without euthanasia will still do it with euthanasia legalized. it will not hurt society, it will help those who are suffering and who wish to no longer suffer and the ones who oppose are selfish. Who is anyone to tell someone they HAVE to live through the unbearable pain and suffering they are going through ??? until you or one of your family members is in that state (and god forbid it doesn’t happen) than you don’t understand what it is like to wake up every morning not being able to live the way a human being should.

    • mey

      It can’t be prescribed unless you have a terminally illness. Also it can’t be prescribed if you are depresses while living with a terminally disease etc. Last of all you must have given 6 month of life by two physician. It is not easy to get it.

    • Big Jimmy

      just saying i didnt know that the scarlet fever was still around, i htought that was more of a thiung that affected the dinos

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  • suzi

    don’t you think that god is the one who should do that??
    it’s none of our business to shorten our life.if it’s our destiny to die we will so what is the reason of being in hurry ??

    • No. Absolutely not. I’m not superstitious. Of course it’s our business and only our business. We make the rules. Currently we require people to suffer needlessly. Wouldn’t it be more humane (or using your mindset, more godly) to allow a suffering person to die with dignity, without pain, and on their own terms?

      • MarcAlcan

        No. Absolutely not. I’m not superstitious. Of course it’s our business and only our business. We make the rules. If you created yourself then yes. But since you did not create yourself then no.

        • We make the rules. Simple as that. There is no Easter bunny. Grow up Marc. Don’t use your fear of the unknown to perpetrate a crime of indifference to real suffering. Death with dignity will become the law of the land in U.S. As it already has in some states. Hopefully throughout the world.

          • MarcAlcan

            We make the rules. Simple as that.

            Certainly we make rules. But are they THE rules? No. They’re self made rules in the same way that Hitler, Dahmer, Stalin, Pol Pot did. We just do it in a smaller scale.

            Death with dignity will become the law of the land in U.S

            Being murdered is not dying with dignity.

            • Ok guy. Let’s battle. No gloves. I don’t understand your murder argument. And you can’t explain it. I don’t think you’re being coy I think you’re ignorant. Euthanasia is not murder. It’s a conscious choice. You can choose. I can choose. We can choose now. We can designate the choice. To die with dignity.

              Our legislatures are involved because death with dignity is not legal everywhere. It should be. Forgive me for my stronger language, above, this is a topic of great importance that stirs great passion.

              • MarcAlcan

                Ok guy. Let’s battle. No gloves

                Huh? Whatever does that mean in the blogosphere?

                Euthanasia is not murder. It’s a conscious choice. You can choose.

                Since when has “conscious choice” been the determiner of whether something is evil or not.

                Like I said before, if the point is wanting to kill yourself, you can do that. Why do you want to involve someone else in your death? Are you too much of a coward to do it yourself?

                I can choose. We can choose now.

                But the choice to want to kill one’s self was never the question. Like I pointed out before (if you actually bother to read my post), you can kill yourself whichever way you want to. So if that is your choice, then go ahead.

                Our legislatures are involved because death with dignity is not legal everywhere

                Enough of this lie. Why is it more dignified if someone killed you than if you killed yourself.
                If the point is dying, then take several sleeping pills and slit your wrist.

                For anyone who wants to die, there are already options.

                Why would someone killing you be a dignified way to die?

                And just take a look at your own post: “Our legislatures are involved because death with dignity is not legal everywhere “. Why is it not legal everywhere? Why in the first place did Euthanasia advocates have to push for the legislation? Because it is murder whichever way you twist it and your group have managed to legalize murder. But whether it is legal or not, it remains murder.

                Notice that so far, you have not presented any argument as to why it should be made legal and why it is “dignified” to be killed by someone else.

                • Euthanasia should be legal because it allows the terminally ill to end their suffering without pain and on their terms. This is the argument I’ve made that you simply refuse to understand.

                  You cannot reasonably argue (or believe) that it should be illegal.

                  You may unreasonably believe or argue that point.

                  You’re doing exactly that. You’re mistaking euthanasia with murder.

                  • MarcAlcan

                    Euthanasia should be legal because it allows the terminally ill to end their suffering without pain and on their terms

                    Like I said, they are free to kill themselves.

                    You cannot reasonably argue (or believe) that it should be illegal.

                    Murder is and should be illegal. Suicide is not. You can kill yourself if you wish to.

                    You’re mistaking euthanasia with murder.

                    Sigh! Like I said before, it is murder. I am not confusing it with murder. It is. That is why you need to change the definition of murder to allow it. If it is not murder, it would have been widely available from the get go. The fact that it is only now that it is starting to be legalized (after much stupid argumentation from the pro Euthanasia people) proves my point.

                    So far, you still have not presented your case other than to say that it should be legal without giving good arguments why it should be so.

                    • Meme

                      It isn’t murder if the patient wishes for it to be done. Honestly, when I came across this article, I thought it’d be about pets. I was wrong, but boy did I get my dose of drama this morning!

                    • MarcAlcan

                      Murder is the wilfull willing of another. There’s nothing there that says anything about consent. Consent does not make a wrong right.

                    • Meme

                      I… Got a response? Wow, ok. This is new.

                      If a person is suffering and wishes for the suffering to end, will you keep them alive? It’s like forcing a person whose arm is being destroyed to keep the arm. They wouldn’t want it. Honestly, let’s put this in the position of pets, like I had mentioned. Imagine your dog is very ill. They cannot stand, walk, or eat without help. They are in pain, and you know it. Do you want to keep that pet alive? Do you want them to suffer?

                    • MarcAlcan

                      When you start behaving like a animal, when you are willing to eat fellow human beings, when you are willing to be put on a leash, then maybe your animal analogy will work.

                    • Meme

                      I was just giving an example.

                      Also, you mentioned that if the person wants to die, they can kill themselves. But what if they can’t? What if they physically can’t move?

                    • MarcAlcan

                      Then can refuse to eat. Believe me, if you want to die, you will find ways.
                      If you can’t kill yourself, why would you make someone a murderer? Rather selfish. Which is really what underpins the euthanasia agenda.

                    • Darby the Meme

                      If you don’t eat, that’s suffering. Do you want people to suffer?

                    • MarcAlcan

                      Do you want to make murderers of people?

                    • Darby the Meme

                      No, but we shouldn’t force people to suffer.

                    • MarcAlcan

                      True. That is why the only path is good palliative care. Suffering is inevitable. Between suffering and doing evil, then we take the path of suffering. It is redemptive.

                    • Suffering is redemptive? You’re a sicko. And you’re wrong.

                    • MarcAlcan

                      If you don’t know that suffering can be redemptive you are the sicko. Or simply dumb and uneducated in spiritual matters.
                      But then that is fairly obvious.

                      The sick materialist will of course that suffering is just that. And I suppose being materialist they deserve such a perspective.

                    • Darby the Meme

                      No response, huh?

                    • MarcAlcan

                      Response to what?

                • ULTRA CAGPHX

                  the patients that receive euthanasia often cannot choose for themselves, therefore if the patients agreed to receive euthanasia, then they should.

    • Tony Powell

      So in your mind, suicide is OK if it’s violent, painful and/or slow. Congrats. You’ve just proven my point about Al Qaeda being more compassionate than you.

      • MarcAlcan

        Suicide is never, never okay.
        But you were talking as if somehow people are stopping you from dying unnaturally. If you want to kill yourself, that is your choice. You can choose a painless one and overdoes on pills or you can choose to put a gun to your mouth.
        The fact that many people have managed to kill themselves make all your arguments bogus.
        Besides, what do you care about whether it is violent or not considering that the whole point is to end your life. In the end if you commit suicide, how you do it is your choice.

  • asdfasdfadf

    Euthanasia does not affect people who have as much will as jOHN C ENNAAAAAAAAAA DADADADADADAAaaaaa

    ayy lmoa

    • unicornsarereal*.*

      Oh my goooddd!!!!! lol best comment i have ever read, you got me!!

    • Damn u Cena!

  • Tony Powell

    Another reason: Compassion does NOT mean “suffering with” others. That’s defeatist and would outlaw Aspirin.

    Yet another reason: Al Qaeda has more compassion than the law right now in most jurisdictions. Why? The 9/11 hijackers got to die instantly.

  • Anya

    Euthanasia is nothing but cold blooded murder…man did not give life to man. So what right do we have to take it away or even assist in taking it away. Assisted suicide is nothing but consented homicide. It is a sin to take your own life away. Why would you help someone else take theirs away? If you’re terminally ill you’re terminally ill for a reason. Yes everyone lives to die, which you couldn’t have said better yourself, so why take time away. Suffering is something everyone has to go through and many have gone through the worst of suffering. No one will suffer more than Jesus who has to watch down on us killing ourselves and helping others kill themselves. Yes kill. I say kill because saying “assisted suicide” just makes it sound like it’s not all that bad. But face the truth..you are helping someone kill themselves, therefore you are as well killing them. Hey, I’m 14 and I’ve had suicidal tendencies, but never ever, if I were to kill myself(because who knows what’s going to happen in my future), would I ask a friend, doctor, or family member to get involved in my death. That’s insane. That’s just whack! Who in their right mind helps someone die? You’re a cold blooded murder in my opinion. And just remember all of this is only my opinion so please don’t tell me I’m wrong because for the most part opinions aren’t wrong. Anyway, murder is taking away a life. “Assisted suicide”, is helping take away a life. It’s no better than helping someone kill someone else. Think about that before you try to say assisted suicide is okay, especially if my doctor says so or is wiling to help me. There are many doctors out there who don’t care about saving lives. The only reason they do is to make money. And now they still get paid when someone dies, because the family get billed. Many doctors have been sued, hated, and fired for these exact reasons. No life isn’t great. Being terminally ill isn’t something to rejoice about. But you get through it till your time comes in which it has to. Everyone’s does. I had an older cousin who had an adult cancer since he was 2 but it wasn’t diagnosed until he was 13. He was in so much pain and suffering, it hurt me to look at him. But he never gave up. He continued on. He still got up and tried at life. Even when he had episodes and couldn’t talk, he still tried! He hated to see us the way we were but he knew what had to happen had to happen. He died Christmas day of 2009. I will never forget the fact he never gave up, which is why I am still alive. I may not be terminally ill, but I do have medical issues that confused more than one doctor. And I might have a terminal illness that they haven’t detected yet. But I am going to live while I can. That I promise. You should too. And help other to. Thank you if you read all of this and took what I said into consideration but if you didn’t I mean hey, I’m just a 14 year old girl that’s gone through rough times. Probably the worst and still am. But I’m still here. Why listen to me right?…

    • Amy

      But, what if you know you’re going to die, (Not suicide, like you said you had thoughts about), and you kept on suffering every day of your life. Wouldn’t it be better to die already than suffer through that?

    • Katie

      @anya yes! Very well put.

    • A

      not all people share the same religion. Don’t take away someone’s choice because YOU believe something is wrong. It’s their choice not yours. Idk, just felt like adding that.

  • Rain

    how can i site this page in an APA style?

  • Whoa Demon. And everyone. Watch your language! Btw no cursing others with hellfire per terms of use.

  • Amy

    You do realize you’re human, right?

    • Uday Hussein

      I’m a soul, not this physical body which we call human, we inhabit the flesh but we are not of it, it really all depends on how you see the world around you, you’re probably a materialist which is why you cannot see your true self.

  • D-bait

    Youth in Asia??