Essay Sample Dedicated to Euthanasia Decriminalization

Published: 2022-10-04 15:01:54
Essay Sample Dedicated to Euthanasia Decriminalization
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Euthanasia
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1819 words
16 min read

Death is one of the inevitable stages of human life that cannot be dodged. Death may result from illness, accident or old age. The killing of innocent persons is legally prohibited, and it may lead to life imprisonment. Some government has enacted strict laws that protect human rights and especially the right to life. Should persons be allowed to end their lives through euthanasia? This is a debatable question that may attract both yes and no answer. The debate on whether a citizen should have the right to decide on their death brings us to the main subject of this study; legalization euthanasia. The word euthanasia refers to the process by which physicians help patients in terminating their lives (Pereira, 2011). Both euthanasia and Patient Assisted Suicide (PAS) are two common practices used by physicians in terminating patients' lives. The difference between the two practices is that the physician prescribes one and conducted by the patient while the other is done with the help of the doctor. Whichever way, the two practices should be criminalized. Euthanasia is a morally and ethically questionable practice that should not be tolerated because it may be misused and used as a cover-up of innocent killings.

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Despite attracting fierce moral and religious criticism, euthanasia has gradually gained support in the western countries in the 21st century. "In 2002, the Netherlands became the first European country to adopt a law permitting physicians to practice euthanasia"( Cohen et al., 2014). The government's move to legalize euthanasia provoked mixed reactions from other European nations. Other nations that have legalized euthanasia include; Belgium, Canada and the United States (not all the states). In Canada, physician-assisted death (PAD) was legalized by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in 2016 (Wiebe, 2017). Physician-assisted death is allowed in circumstances when the patient has an incurable illness or when the patient is endorsing intolerable medical conditions. For instance, cancer and HIV/AIDs have become the most life-threatening diseases in the 21st century. So far, scientists have not been successful in inventing HIV cure. Cancer, on the other hand, can be effectively cured when diagnosed at very early stages. Late diagnosis of cancer may result in a costly and unsuccessful treatment. I strongly disagree with the idea that euthanasia is the best solution to ending patients' sufferings. On the contrary, I believe that physicians must ensure patients receive proper service care, and the ones with chronic conditions must be given palliative care.

Euthanasia is a contemporary issue that cuts across religion, ethics, law, and medicine. Banovic and Turanjanin (2014) compare euthanasia to an earthquake whose impacts has caused divergent opinions from both the scientific and the non-scientific divides. The Islamic religion view euthanasia as a form murder and therefore it is legally prohibited. According to Banovic and Turanjanin (2014), countries that prohibit euthanasia have punishable laws that may attract the death penalty. However, in countries such as the Netherlands where euthanasia has been practiced since 2002, euthanasia is viewed as a person's will and desire, and therefore it should be respected.

There are a number of reseasons that explain the reason why euthanasia is gaining so much support in the modern era. However, these reasons do not justify euthanasia legalization. One of the most probable reasons behind decriminalization of euthanasia is the cost burden. The healthcare sector arguably one of the sectors of the economy whose role must not be ignored. In some countries like the United States and other wealthy nations on the planet, healthcare receives the lion's share of the budget. Healthcare professionals in euthanasia-legalized countries assert aiding chronically ill patients in committing suicide is way less expensive compared to the cost of medical care. According to Trachtenberg and Manns(2017) research, by decriminalizing medical assistance in dying, Canada may save up to $138.8 million on annual healthcare. Patients who have serious health complications may require close medical attention thus contributing to their hospital stay. The prolonged hospital stays are the primary causes of the increasing health costs. This argument is morally and ethically unacceptable. The life of a person cannot be valued in monetary figures. Regardless of the illness, a patient must be given proper medical care until they breathe their last breath. Truly, if good palliative care measures are enforced, there would be no need for euthanasia.

Euthanasia is recommended for patients who have intolerable sufferings or who are approaching the end of life. Pain is one of the major causes that provoke suicidal thoughts among many patients. Some medical conditions cause untold sufferings on patients. In countries where euthanasia is declared illegal, patients may fail to take the prescribed medication in an attempt to terminate their lives. The killing of oneself is not justifiable to end the sufferings. Normally, death is an acceptable guest in society. The gap left when a person dies may never be filled forever. Thus, healthcare professionals must encourage palliative care instead of assisted suicide in an attempt to manage the patient's pain. In my opinion, I don't find it justifiable to assist patients in committing suicide; instead, physicians should assist in saving lives. There is no difference between killing and assisting in the killing. Both cases have the same outcome.

Euthanasia may end unbearable pain and suffering in a patient, but does it heal the emotional wounds left on family members, friends, and relatives? There are so many ethical, religious and moral issues in euthanasia. There are those who support the practice arguing that the decision to let, live or die is a person's choice; thus, people's rights and opinions must be respected. But assisting a patient in committing suicide does not reflect the moral values of society. From the religious perspective, the right to life is a gift that should not be subject to interference by human laws. God is the ultimate giver and receiver of life hence; humans have no moral authority to decide on a matter of life and death. Euthanasia should, therefore, be treated like any other form of a killing and the ultimate price for this condemnable practice should be death.

There is this absurd argument that states; the primary goal of euthanasia is to relieve pain without the intention of killing the patient. However, this does not make sense at all. When a physician intentionally injects a chronically ill patient with a lethal injection, how is the pain intended to be minimized without causing death? These are some of the ethical concerned raised in the legalization of euthanasia. Euthanasia and abortion have similar ethical concerns in society today. Abortion is concerned with the beginning of life whereas euthanasia is concerned with the end of life.

It is morally unethical to assist a person in committing suicide even if the people will ultimately die. Assisting a person to terminate his or life prematurely regardless of whether they were terminally ill or not may raise ethical questions. Some decisions are hard to make because either option may be subject to ethical and moral questions. For instance, some people may view euthanasia as a form of compassion. According to my religious beliefs and understanding, assisting one to kill themselves to end their sufferings may not be a sign of compassion. The very first vital step that healthcare givers must take to grant terminally ill patients their death wishes is by offering palliative care. Palliative care should always come first before considering any further move.

Is mercy killing ethically permissible for patients who will eventually die? This is a critical question that cannot be taken lightly because it shows human thinking on the value of life. Take for instance the case of Ariel Sharon, who was the former 11th prime minister of the Republic of Israel. Sharon eventually died after eight consecutive years in a life support machine. Would there be any moral difference if the doctors would have decided to end his life prematurely instead of spending eight years and in comatose and eventually die? The term mercy killing is a politely substituted term for euthanasia to justify physician-assisted suicide. In a civilized society, any form human activities that may interfere with the human survival should not be tolerated. The majority of individuals who propose euthanasia argue that it is a good way to end life in dignity without suffering.

Furthermore, they state that healthcare givers should offer assistance in assisted suicide in cases where patients cannot do it by themselves. I strongly stand with the opposing side against euthanasia. Assisting individuals in killing themselves in a bid to end their suffering does not reflect the religious and moral values of a civilized society. All the governments should be like India, where any form of support to suicide or attempt to suicide is deemed a serious criminal offense (Math & Chaturvedi, 2012). Whether the decision to terminate the patient's life comes from the patient, family members or the doctors, the choice of human life is beyond the human ability thus, any form of suicide must be treated as a normal murder case.

Whenever euthanasia is mentioned, two groups of individuals pop in our minds; the elderly and the disabled. There is no doubt the majority of the world's population is composed of the older generation. It is worth to note that aging is associated with various medical issues. Therefore, they form they occupy the greatest portion of the healthcare budget. This generation may seem like a burden to the increasing cost of the healthcare budget. Legalizing euthanasia would further jeopardize their lives due to the pressure on the increased cost of healthcare. In countries such as Newzealand, where euthanasia has been legalized, cases of abuse on the elderly and the disabled are very common. People should be allowed to exercise their freedom of life without feeling threatened.

Every citizen has the right to life, and therefore, doctors have no right or obligation to decide if a whether a patient deserves to die or to live. Laws such as the ones that legalize euthanasia should not be accepted in a civilized world. Suicidal thoughts among the suffering patients may be minimized by providing palliative care. Honestly, euthanasia should not be legalized; instead, the government must concentrate on other ways of improving healthcare delivery.


Pereira, J. (2011). Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide: the illusion of safeguards and controls. Current Oncology, 18(2), e38.

Cohen, J., Van Landeghem, P., Carpentier, N., & Deliens, L. (2014). Public acceptance of euthanasia in Europe: a survey study in 47 countries. International journal of public health, 59(1), 143-156.

Wiebe, K. L. (2017). Physician-assisted death should be available to people with MS-YES. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 23(13), 1677-1678.

Banovic, B., & Turanjanin, V. (2014). Euthanasia: murder or not: a comparative approach. Iranian journal of public health, 43(10), 1316.

Trachtenberg, A. J., & Manns, B. (2017). Cost analysis of medical assistance in dying in Canada. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 189(3), E101-E105.

Math, S. B., & Chaturvedi, S. K. (2012). Euthanasia: the right to life vs. right to die. The Indian journal of medical research, 136(6), 899.

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