One of the purposes of this assignment is to be able to objectively consider all points of view. To be able to argue effectively you must be able know and understand both sides of an argument. This paper will be a measure of how well you are able to do that. You are being asked to research an issue upon which there is a disagreement. You will write the paper from your viewpoint, showing all the facts and reasons to support that side of the issue. You will also want to be sure you include 3 major points that your opposition would argue. You will explain those points and then explain why these arguments are flawed.
Euthanasia came from the Greek words “Eu” (which means, good or pleasant) and “thanatos” (which means, death). Loosely translated, euthanasia means good pleasant death. Likewise, other individuals would consider euthanasia as “mercy killing.” Some people defend euthanasia because they believe that individuals have their own basic human rights to life and death. On the contrary, others are against euthanasia because they argue that killing fellow human beings, even with their consents, is a murderous act. For these people, it is against their conscience, societal and cultural norms, and will of God to cause the death of someone. Below are some of the objectively held views about both sides of the arguments for or against euthanasia:
The Pros and Cons of Euthanasia
Pro-euthanasia individuals and groups claim that people have an explicit human right to decide when to end their futile life because of their debilitating disease. They assert that, just like their other inalienable rights, their right to die decently is inseparable from all their other human rights. They rationalize that if life belongs to them – and so is death. If a person’s right to end his/her life is not an impediment to any other people’s rights, does not cause harm to other people and is not detrimental to the general public, then euthanasia should be allowed. For them, it is unreasonable to interfere or violate anyone’s right to live a life that is already unworthy of continued subsistence and existence .
Anti-euthanasia people and groups, on the other hand, argue that only God ought to take away people’s lives because He is the Bestower and Claimer of life. Although God gave people the autonomy to do whatever they wished for, there is always self-imposed limiting force in the exercise of their freewill (especially, those that run counter to the exercise of their own freedom vis-à-vis larger societal issues). Human nature proves that no individuals have unlimited freedom – only God has; hence, euthanasia never an excuse because “there is no commandment to justify” it . Hence, people ought to choose life over death despite their sufferings, unbearable pain or incurable disease. God has the sole authority to end people’s lives no matter what the surrounding circumstances are. Individuals, in themselves, have limitations to have their lives extended if it is already their time to pass away; so, why kill innocent lives when they cannot even prolong a minute of their lives. People should rather let God decide when to take away people’s lives since He is the Creator and Provider of everything. As the Sole Author of Life, His claim to individuals’ lives whenever and in whatsoever condition it might be is to His best discretion.
Then again, pro-euthanasia individuals and groups would have the disputation that people have personal choice, human right to live, sustain their own lives, and end them whenever they want to (such as in suicides). They contend that they have no a priori choice to exist here on earth; they have not opted to live. Their parents procreated them and that is it. Hence, upon attaining maturity, they believe that people have in them the right to do whatever they like to as long as it is to their best interest. For them, death is now just one of the many options that they have as free individuals. They view personal- or physician-assisted death as an advantage for people who are in a situation where it is already impossible for them to live a comfortable and normal life. They request or even demand death by means of a living will (more appropriately, death wish) whereby family members, relatives, and doctors may accede to their request (e.g., right-to-refuse medical treatment) .
Anti-euthanasia people will continue to dispute the statement above by arguing that mercy killing will only weaken respect for life. Offering individuals the basic right to end their lives is against the inherent sanctity of life. If euthanasia is legalized, it logically follows then that it is just as fair for people to commit suicides, hara-kiri, and related forms. Even when most religious groups believe that individuals ought not to kill themselves or let other people do it for them, anyone would do it anyway. For people who are against euthanasia, they insist that life ought to be valued for its own sake no matter what. Because of medical breakthroughs and improved healthcare services, there are always ways to extend human lives. Thus, life-extending devices (such as respirators) are important for individuals who might wish to live longer even when they are in vegetative states.
Then again, pro-euthanasia individuals claim that people in terminal or vegetative conditions should be allowed to die in order to help conserve more medical / health resources. When healthcare resources (e.g., medicine, money) are conserved, more families that are indigent will gain from these policies, laws and regulations. For instance, in several developing and less developed countries, there is an inadequacy of medical facilities and health resources. Poor families, who could have been healed from their illnesses using less expensive drugs, lack the basic health/medical services. Moreover, access to treatments, which could have been readily given to cure them, are thus not provided to them. Then, think of those terminally ill individuals who want to die because they cannot bear anymore the pain of living even a second of their desperate, hopeless lives. Hence, pro-euthanasia people are of the opinion that not permitting individuals to die mercifully would only add up to the dwindling resources. If they die sooner, they would give a better chance people with curable diseases to be treated to live healthy lives and become again productive members of society. Nonetheless, this argument’s weakness is that other people will find loopholes wherein they will abuse other individuals to the point of killing them for the sake of inheritance and other forms of gains.
In view of the above paragraph, anti-“mercy killing” groups concur that killing dying people to prevent dwindling health from being wasted is a matter of slippery slope. Individuals who consider themselves as undesirable family and societal members will find ways just to accomplish their witty yet reprehensible schemes. Even those who are in favor of voluntary euthanasia might then think of themselves as the onus of society. Relatives and other people might then have the greater chance of doing involuntary euthanasia – one way or in whatever manner there is. Thus, euthanasia will only worsen the situation of the terminally ill because some people worry about abuse of right-to-die law .
Pro-euthanasia individuals and group find time to advocate for the passage of bills, or in short, legalization of euthanasia because there are no formal-legal obstacles for doing so. . They would insist that euthanasia could be regulated in variously appropriate ways. However, this argument on pro-euthanasia is admittedly has underlying problems and unregenerate issues. The possibility that other people will kill others to advance their self-interest and achieve evil ends by pressuring and even blackmailing dying patients, family members, doctors, etc. to the point of killing others the soonest time possible is really polemical. The reason is that individuals would still agree that even without laws, evildoers might not be hindered from performing the act of mercy killing for whatever reason they might have in the process.
When individuals and the state approve of mercy killing by legislating and implementing laws, policies, and other legalities, there is a greater likelihood that some sick and disabled lives will be considered as worthless and worthy of disposition. Despite the facts that peoples’ lives are good in themselves, other maleficent individuals and practitioners who favor euthanasia will only make matters worse or use the death of others to achieve their mischievous ends. Even though death is a part of the natural cycle of life, they would rationalize that the existence of laws makes euthanasia an accepted one.
Again, pro-euthanasia people would carry on the idea that euthanasia happens anyway, somewhere, worldwide. Hence, mercy killing should instead be legalized to regulate it. They would insist that, without euthanasia, individuals who are experiencing unbearable pains make their situation worse because of their prolonged agony; thus, a pleasant death is much better than death in the end anyway.
Anti-euthanasia would offer the counter-argument that even when “good death” occurs to someone, somewhere; euthanasia is still in no way the best choice for anyone. The act of euthanasia in itself might affect other peoples’ fundamental human rights – and not just those of the terminally ill and dying patients. Granting without accepting that euthanasia is permissible for those who wish to have it, some scientists and researchers may be discouraged to continue looking for breakthroughs against various types of diseases. Moreover, euthanasia might undermine individual and group initiatives to provide suitable relief, services and care for their loved ones. Hence, mercy killing should never be the exception for legalization.
For my part, first, I am not in favor of euthanasia because I believe that God is loving, wise and merciful than anyone else. Second, I always consider the implications of euthanasia that it might lead to diverse, adverse consequences (e.g., genocide, patricide, infanticide). It might even be used for inhumane purposes (i.e., ethically, medically, and legally). Third, if we legalized euthanasia, there might be repercussion such as medical professionals’ undermining saving lives, doctors’ possession of too much power over the lives of their patients, etc. In the same manner, selfish families might pressure a terminally ill person to have as a choice euthanasia just to hasten the granting of their inheritance. Thus, euthanasia might only expose vulnerable individuals from other unseen, unfavorable consequences before they die.
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