Suffering and pain are omnipresent in the modern world. They steal the sense of life, and sadly, even with the rapid advancements of medicine, there may not be a possibility to save people from pain or death. Therefore, some are turning to a different path to end their suffering.
One of the biggest controversies of this decade is euthanasia, an option that allows certain eligible individuals to legally request and obtain medications from their physicians to end their lives in a peaceful, humane and dignified manner. Is euthanasia ethical? That’s up to you to decide.
Some people see euthanasia as ethical and pragmatic. To them, it relieves patients of their suffering and allows them an honorable death. People should have freedom of choice, including the right to control their own bodies and lives. The state should not create laws that prevent people from being able to choose when and how they die. When someone is suffering, the “quality of life” diminished, and life should only continue as long as a person feels their life is worth living.
Isaiah Monroig, a 15-year old from Boston Latin School, agrees with the ethical view. “People should be relieved of suffering, especially if they have no interest in living,” Monroig said. “People should have the ability to decide what their body goes through.”
On the other hand, some religions oppose euthanasia. They say that humans are the creation of God and so only He should be the only one to choose when someone’s time is up. Committing an act of euthanasia or assisting in suicide is acting against the will of God and is sinful. Even some non-religious people believe that permitting euthanasia “devalues” life. The “slippery slope” argument is based on the idea that once a healthcare service/government starts killing its own citizens, a line has been crossed. According to this theory, legalized voluntary euthanasia could eventually cause:
Very ill people who need constant care to request euthanasia to rid their families of burden
Discouragement of research into treatments and possibly prevent cures for people with terminal illnesses being found
Untimely deaths of those who were misdiagnosed by doctors
Additionally, medical ethics are a big issue. The Hippocratic Oath, an oath historically taken by physicians, requires them to uphold certain ethical standards. Asking doctors to abandon their obligation to preserve human life could damage the doctor-patient relationship. In turn, people with complex health needs or disabilities could become distrustful of their doctor’s efforts or intentions.
In the end, death may or may not be a tangible option for those who are suffering. Many see it inhumane and wrong while others see it as a solution. What is your stance?