Euthanasia refers to relieving someone’s pain and suffering by bringing an end to their life. It is also known as assisted suicide. It has been derived from a Greek word, Euthanatize, which means easy death. Euthanasia helps the people suffering from various diseases in the relief of their long inflicted pain which they had been bearing for many years. Euthanasia is mostly carried on terminally ill people who have been sick for a very long time. But a recent trend has also been seen that the demand for euthanasia is also highly placed by the people who are just ‘tired of life.’
People tired of constantly fighting with depression, fear of being alone, and fear of losing control or dignity, dislike of being dependent or feeling of a burden, often request to carry out euthanasia on them as they seek it as permanent relief from all sorts of pains. Some people also call Euthanasia as “mercy killing” as it gives relief to people suffering from ages due to their terminal illness or unbearable pain (Rojas). But it has been widely observed that Euthanasia devalues human lives, why and how will be discussed in this essay.
Usually, Euthanasia is carried out on people who are in a very serious medical condition and are generally incurable and in great pain. They have been in such a situation for a very long time. Usually it has been observed that two types of people are there who mostly demand for euthanasia: the ones who have been suffering from any chronic disease for a long time and have experienced enough pain that they no longer find courage in themselves to fight with it anymore, so they prefer death over prolonged periods of illness.
Another type of people who prefer that their life should be taken with the help of doctors is those who are suffering from psychological disorders. These are the people who are continually fighting a battle against depression and now tired of fighting (Campbell 31). Euthanasia can be broadly categorized into two categories. When the process of Euthanasia is carried out with the complete consent of the patient, it is known as Voluntary euthanasia. Involuntary Euthanasia, when the patient actively involves in the process of bringing about his/her own death, with the help of a physician, it is known as Assisted Suicide (Rehm). When the consent of the patient is not directly involved in the process of Euthanasia, it is known as Non-voluntary Euthanasia. Usually, in non-voluntary euthanasia, the process is carried out under the consent of guardians, relatives, doctors or even under the order of courts. Just like child euthanasia or euthanasia of such a patient who is unconscious.
Euthanasia can be carried out in two ways, either by carrying out actions like giving a lethal injection or dose of deadly medicines or by stopping an action that is essential for a person’s survival, for example, removing the food tube or failure to keep the oxygen going in the tube. If a person refuses some unusual or extraordinary treatment and dies as a result of it, it won’t be counted as a Euthanasia because doctors offered him treatment and he refused the treatment (Campbell 31).
Another possibility may be that if a Doctor gives pain-relieving medicines to some patients and he passes away it won’t be considered under the definition of Euthanasia that the doctor was only trying to ease his pain, not trying to kill him. Euthanasia has given birth to many agonizing moral dilemmas. A number of questions have sprung up that whether it’s ethical to kill someone or not just to curb his/her pain. Many people argue that it’s totally unethical to take a life of a person as life’s a precious gift from God, but there are some people who are in total favor of this.
As per a recent survey conducted by Times Magazine in 2017, it was found out that a total of 80% respondent were in favor that terminally ill patients should be given the right to decide that whether they want to live more or die, along with a physician’s help. A survey has been made which shows that, 45% of respondents were in the favor that people, when we’re not terminally ill, should be given the right to opt for euthanasia. A large number of respondents were against involving relatives in this process.
It is noteworthy to mention that euthanasia can be an ethical activity. It is entirely moral and needs to be practiced for the welfare of people, especially those in severe pain. The euthanasia violates the religious beliefs of many religious and cultural groups. Opposition has to be faced against the legitimation of euthanasia of those devout religious people. It is notable to mention that many religions pays special attention to death. In many religions, such as Christianity, it is taught that life is valuable and worth protecting.
Similarly, in Islam it is well known fact that giving and taking back life is in the hand of God and no one can die one hour before or one hour after it. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism beliefs that meddling in the process of dying through, suicide, murder, or euthanasia as the decision regarding life and death belongs only to God. Religious people get really offended with the legalization of euthanasia which might break down the concept of religion in a society resulting in the creation of threats towards social stability. Undoubtedly, every person has to die someday but that it is not allowed to arrange the death through murder, suicide, or euthanasia.
However, it is argued that God has created the man as a free soul and he/ she has complete autonomy to decide about their life. A human is free to choose whether he wants to live or die and how long or short their lifespan should be (Zimmermann 41-48). If a person wants to die, they should not be stopped and given complete authority to take their lives, in fact, they should be assisted (Johnson 9).
Life and Death is a private matter of any person so no one should interfere in it. A person has complete authority to choose about their death and its details (Campbell 31). If their death is not causing harm to anyone, the state should not interfere in it and let them do their work. An individual should have the right to privacy and freedom (Zimmermann 41-48). They should have the freedom to choose the way, day and time of their death and if the person requires any physician assistants, that should also be provided to them (Campbell 31). Along with that, this matter should be kept entirely private.
Devoicing people with terminal diseases will give more space and rights to other people of the society (Rehm). It will result in the fair distribution of health resources amount the general public and give more time and space to work and research on other patients instead of giving time to a single patient. But they often forget that it being in pain or good health is from the God and no one has the power over Him. Every person has to die, eventually. So, a person should have the autonomy to choose the details of his death. However, if death is inevitable, why there is so much hassle about dying by own will. A person should be allowed to die the way they want.
Undoubtedly, euthanasia unethical activity and demand to be declared it as a serious offense, punishable by law. The sanctity of life will be highly endangered due to euthanasia. Every life is valuable, every life is precious, and everyone has a complete right to live and enjoy life irrespective of age, gender, color, caste, creed, religion, and social status (Zimmermann 41-48).
Human life is sacred as well because it is gift from God (Johnson 9). God has created every human with a purpose, and if a single human life is taken, it is possible that the plan may remain devoid of something great. So human life should be respected in every aspect. By curbing the life of a terminally ill or disabled person, the supporters of euthanizing are portraying a message that being dead is better than sick of being disabled. It is a really demotivating stance that instead of encouraging and helping a person to carry on their lives with the deformity, they are being shown a way to end their lives (Campbell 31). In many societies, people with disabilities are considered inferior, and even burden on society and some of them even avoid them to carry on their generations further. But still, disabled people never lose hope and keep going forward.
When a person decides to die, they are not only the one being affected. A person is attached to many other entities which get affected by the death of a person like friends and families, Doctors and the entire medical profession and society. Some other individual going thru the same situation might feel pressurized by this decision and may be tempted to take the same decision for their life as well (Johnson 9). This practice is a deceiving act. Many other evils may take place behind the curtain of euthanasia. For example, a doctor may kill any patient without the need for euthanasia; a person may take revenge from anyone and later prove it as euthanasia. It is feared that if voluntary euthanasia becomes legal, there would be no time that involuntary euthanasia will also become very common (Johnson 9).
Euthanasia should never be allowed as it can be heavily abused and used as a cover for murder. Religious clerics are strictly against the act of Euthanize. Life and death are in the hands of God and only He has to decide that when someone dies. No human has the right to decide someone’s life span and the time of the death of some individual (Zimmermann 41-48). Taking one’s life is against the will of the Almighty, God. Religious scholars argue that all humans belong to God, their lives belong to the Almighty (Bennet). To kill someone or to get someone to do it, is like denying God, and denying His rights over people’s lives. It is also like denying His right to choose the timespan of the lives of his creation and the way his creations life comes to an end (Campbell, 31).
In every religion, Euthanasia has been condemned wrongly. Christianity describes that God and only God has the right to decide the life span of a person and no one else has the right to kill someone (Bennet). Islam also strongly condemns Euthanasia, and it is strictly forbidden for Muslims to take anybody’s or own life. They believe that all lives are sacred and belong to Allah Almighty. The third largest religion, Hinduism, also mostly condemn euthanasia by saying that it is against their teachings of Ahimsa (doing no harm) and it will result in bringing bad luck for the doctor and patient both (Bennet). But some Hindus are of the view that freeing a body of such intense pain is a good deed and should be done as a moral duty.
It is notable to mention that the suffering carries a value. As per their opinion, suffering provides an opportunity for a human to grow more and enlighten himself. It upraises a person in wisdom, compassion, and character. The suffering brings the highest value to a human being. It draws upon all the sources of a human being and carries it to the noblest and highest point of spirituality and character (Board).
Another useful aspect of suffering may be that it makes the bearer a role model for others. The sufferer becomes an example and torch bearer for others that how to behave when times are tough. Death is like the same as a person was never born, and there is no difference. The things remain the same as it were before a person was born. But in reality, there is a lot of difference.
The person requesting euthanasia may have a lousy quality of life (or maybe a perception that their life is not worth it) and it will only be got worse, but this thinking will never get them anywhere (Board). Only it will deprive them off another pleasant experience of life waiting for them. If they die, they will never have the opportunity to enjoy those things they always wanted to and will never get a chance to. They would have got opportunities if they had continued to live (Board). In some cases, when the patient makes a request for euthanasia, it does not mean that they have nothing to live for, it means that they have decided to give up. The burden of pain has outweighed the love of the other people and things.
As far as the law is concerned, Euthanasia is illegal in most of the countries, although doctors privately carry out this practice. For instance in places like Britain, euthanasia is a serious criminal offense and is categorized under the section of murder or manslaughter, even if the other person asks you to kill them (Campbell 31).. It is also a criminal offense to aid, assist, advise or counsel someone to take their own life and it can also result in 14 years of imprisonment under 196 Suicide act (Campbell 31). Whereas, here in the United States assisted suicide is legal in California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana..
In a nutshell, euthanasia in every aspect is inhumane and cruel. Taking the life of any living being especially a human being is a heinous act. Human life is a very precious and valuable asset and should be prized. If a person is terminally ill, there are chances that he will become well one day. Doctors should never stop trying on him. Although he is suffering from intense pain, doctors should keep trying to cure him or at least keep giving him/her pain curbing medicines so that he/she can be in less pain and keep enjoying their life with their loved ones.