Those who are against the legalization of euthanasia have an incredibly naive mindset about just how painful it can be to suffer through life. There are countless anti-euthanasia arguments, but one of the most profound is the religious argument saying that life is the greatest gift and only God has the authority to end it. The general Christian view is that even if a person wants to die, God created all life processes including life and death so we should not interfere with them. Additionally, many churches believe that the dying process itself is valuable and the moments right before death have great importance, so we should not end life prematurely.
The religious argument against euthanasia is very similar to religious arguments against abortion. The United States of America was a country founded on religious freedom, so why should one religion dictate everyone’s life choices? Not everyone practices Christianity, so not everyone should have to follow the rules of the Bible. The U.S. Constitution clearly states in The First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Essentially, using religion as a reason not to practice euthanasia is unconstitutional and therefore, invalid.
Another argument against euthanasia is that sometimes, terminally ill patients can get better. These people feel that medical mysteries can happen anytime and euthanasia is a quick and unnecessary getaway.
The reality is, euthanasia is used as a very last resort for people who are suffering so badly that they have no choice. Ending your own life is not something taken lightly, and it is usually a decision made after months and years of thought. Yes, it is true that on very rare occasions, terminally ill patients can recover, but this has as much of a chance of happening as you winning the lottery or getting struck by lightning. The odds are not promising, and the suffering of such illnesses is so great that patients don’t want to take their chances. If suffering patients don’t have access to physician-assisted suicide, they will take matters into their own hands and end up suffering even more while trying to end the original suffering. For example, Tony Nicklison was denied the chance to die and end his “locked in syndrome” of not being able to move a single muscle in his body. Unable to do anything else, he ended up starving himself to death after about a week. Instead of peacefully dying around their loved ones, patients are being forced to commit suicide that is even more painful.
The populations who want to keep euthanasia illegal don’t truly understand the pain and suffering that these people are going to. It is hard to put yourself in these people’s shoes and to understand what it really feels like to view death as your one and only option to be happy. One argument that I keep stumbling upon is that people who turn towards euthanasia are confusing their desire to end pain and suffering with a desire to actually die. The argument is that they aren’t being treated fully for their pain and should resort any and all methods to reduce their pain to an amount that can be dealt with on a daily basis. To believe that people turning to euthanasia haven’t already exhausted all of their options is just stubborn. Euthanasia is one hundred and ten percent people’s last option. Choosing to end your own life due pain and suffering that is never ending is not something that people come upon lightly. Before looking to euthanasia as their only way out of the pain and misery they are feeling they do everything humanly possibly to end it using medicine. But, when the medicine to stop their pain fails they must turn to medicine for help in a different way.
Additionally, with this argument people believe that if euthanasia is legal then people will be less likely to seek medical help to end their pain and suffering and will just resort to euthanasia. This idea is extremely immature belief. People don’t turn to death without second-guessing it or giving it years of consideration. Specialized medical care for people with serious illness, also known as palliative care, will not be effected at all if euthanasia is legalized. This is because people with these illnesses will try every other method to ease their pain before resorting to euthanasia. For patients who turn to euthanasia there is absolutely nothing more they can try. They can no longer lie the life they are living because medicine keeps failing them time and time again. It is time that medicine gives people what they truly want and truly need.
Read more about this specific argument here.
As I delve deeper into research on euthanasia I am coming across more reason why people believe that it should stay illegal. I would like to continue to refute these points and further prove why we need to legalize peoples right to choose their own death. I first came across the “slippery slope” argument. This is the idea that once we allow physician assisted suicide it will cross a line that society has created for a reason. Once we cross this line we would be setting a dangerous precedent for the human health. People who believe this argue that it would lead to a unforeseen consequences that would come from allowing people to kill themselves legally. But, not legalizing has lead to horrible consequences that legalizing it would fix. For example, people who are at the point in their illness or disability when they contemplate taking their life want the option to do it in a hospital rather than their own home. If we do not legalize this practice in hospitals, then people will resort to the other option, taking their own life into their own hands and killing themselves in various and dangerous ways. In order for us to monitor this slippery slope and stop people taking their lives unwatched then we need to legalize euthanasia.
Another argument that has been mentioned by various people is that doctors and nurses would be held responsible for killing a life. This would take a toll on their own mental health because they would consider themselves taking someone else’s life They consider this to be unethical medicine for the person administering the drug.. I understand how people can see this to be true, but doctors are well educated and understand the reasoning behind why a patient would choose euthanasia. They may not full understand because it is not happening to them but they would become sympathetic to the patient and understand that they are actually helping the patient die how they want. Doctors and nurses may be administering the drug but they patient is the one who is making the decision. This is similar to people who administer the drug that kills people on death row. It is a similar understanding that it is not in fact in the person who gives the drug but in the hands of the person who is getting the drug. These two perspectives may seem to be correct, but after thinking and educating yourself on euthanasia you will understand that the “slippery slope” idea and the medical ethical argument is not right.
There are many people who believe that Euthanasia should under no circumstances are legalized and I would like to prove them wrong. I am going to take a look at three of the most popular reasons why people believe euthanasia should stay illegal and refute them. In an article, “Physician-Assisted Suicide is Always Wrong” by Ryan T. Andersons he discusses these three arguments and many more. The first argument to keep euthanasia illegal is because it endangers the weak and vulnerable. When people are accepting death as their absolute last option the last thing I would describe them as is weak. Many people choosing euthanasia have been fighting, very strongly, a battle that is out of their control. Whether it is a sickness, disease or disability that people are dealing with they resort to euthanasia after fighting undoubtedly the hardest battle of their life. Someone who can endure that and have the courage to look towards euthanasia for a dignified death is not someone who I would qualify as weak.
The second argument is that allowing euthanasia will change the culture in which medicine is practiced and give doctors too much of the power. When dealing with such controversial topics like this one change can definitely be a scary thought. But, many changes in our society have lead to great success and equality including the freeing of slaves. Allowing doctors to have the ability to fulfill someone’s requests to end their life dignified gives them no more power than they already have. Doctors can literally hold someone heart in their hands, but it is up to them what they decide to do with it. Doctors already have a lot of power and take an oath to use it the right way. If euthanasia were to be legalized they would have to follow the right protocol to give out this drug just like they do with any other drug.
The third and final reason why Anderson believes euthanasia should stay illegal is because it would violate human dignity. This is the exact opposite of what legalizing euthanasia would do. Allowing euthanasia would give people the right that they deserve to their own death. If we have the right to live then we have the right to die. It allows people to die a death that is without pain and dignified. As individuals we have the right to live a life we want and die a death that we choose. We should be allowed to choose how we live and how we die. Euthanasia gives people the right to choose how they die, a right that they deserve.
Do not deny people their rights to live or die.