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Euthanasia Should Not Be Allowed

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Euthanasia Should Not Be Allowed Under Any Circumstances

The very idea of euthanasia originated long ago. However, since the time of Hippocrates and to this day, the traditional medical ethics includes the prohibition for doctors to give the medication that can cause the death of the patient and even to advise do take such peals. Two types of euthanasia are distinguished: active and passive. In passive euthanasia, which ceases medical care, life-unsupportive treatment that accelerates the natural death is such a common practice.

There are following forms of active euthanasia (Kuhse and Singer):

  • “Mercy killing” occurs in cases when relatives or the doctor himself, seeing the great suffering of hopelessly sick person and not being able to fix them, spray or inject the patient pain medication, which results in a quick and painless death. The question of the patient’s consent in this case is not put, because he/she is not able to express his/her will.
  • The second form of active euthanasia is suicide, which is committed by the doctor.
  • The third form is the actual active euthanasia. It occurs without the aid of a doctor. It only comprises a patient himself, who imposes a quick and painless death on her or himself.

Thus, the problem of euthanasia is an intentional causing the death of a patient due to the doctor’s compassion or request of a dying man or his relatives.

The problem of euthanasia has not occurred suddenly. It begins its chronology from ancient times, and even then, it caused much controversy among physicians. More recently, however, doctors started to resort this practice, at least when the patient is asked about death. How should one relate to this trend? Regarding the release of outdated restrictions or as a kind of permissiveness, it is also wrong from a moral point of view and dangerous in practice.

Background of the Issue

It is worth to start with some definitions and explanations of this term. Literally, the term “euthanasia” is translated “the death for good”, but the term has come to mean not only the “good” death itself. “Euthanasia” can be defined as the killing of another person for the alleged good of mortifies with his consent (“voluntary euthanasia”) or without the consent, or even against the will of man (“involuntary” and “forced” euthanasia). By “killing”, one can understand the act or admission with the purpose of depriving a person of life, regardless of whether the impact is direct or indirect. According to this definition, cases of physician-assisted suicide, with no less than a doctor do lethal injection, are examples of euthanasia, because they are aimed at achieving one and the same purpose, which is the patient’s death. If such a suicide is permissible, it is difficult to find any moral objection to active voluntary euthanasia. There may be practical reasons for the differences. For example, assisted suicide may be less prone to abuses.

According to Kuhse and Signer, both of these approaches are applicable when discussing euthanasia. Some argue that although euthanasia is immoral, it should not be prohibited by law. Two arguments that are usually cited as arguments against the use of criminal sanctions: the first one is very high cost of implementation of these sanctions in life, and the second one is the prospect of disobedience, which is so wide that it has undermined the general respect for the law, which does not seemingly apply in this case.

Others argue that although euthanasia is not always wrong, it should not be legal. One version of this argument claims that euthanasia is morally permissible only in rare cases, but even then, it should be banned, as this practice would do more harm than good before legalizing euthanasia. Another version says that the legalization puts older people in a difficult position of choice: either to continue living or die. This is the position to which no one can be put. Finally, someone says that euthanasia should not be allowed at any circumstances.

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First Argument against Euthanasia

The intentional killing of the innocent is always a moral evil. Euthanasia is the intentional killing of an innocent person. Therefore, it is morally evil. Smaller premises of this conclusion are unlikely to be the debate. It follows directly from the definition that is given in the first section of the report. The fight will take place around a great premise. Arguments in favor of euthanasia might begin by noting that although this conclusion is based on the ethics of absolute moral prohibitions, yet at its core, there is no absolute moral prohibition on killing. Supporters of euthanasia may appeal to the fact that the above reasoning implies a distinction between justified and unjustified killing. Differences in justified and unjustified cases are the fact that not all killings have a sign that usually condemns killing eviler. The relation to the other is not what it should be. Thus, two kinds of murder are accepted even by many of the most ardent opponents of euthanasia, namely, self-defense and punishment. None of them is unfair, and, in fact, is wrong (Kuhse and Singer 381-384).

It is a question whether one can consider voluntary euthanasia as a third kind of justified killing and whether it can be attributed to those cases where the loss of life is fair. One may try to make the argument in favor of the fact that euthanasia is beyond unjust murder on the basis of two key propositions.

First, some people state that it is better to die than to live. Striking examples of this are the patients who are suffering from severe pain or are doomed to a life of abject dependence on others to meet even the most basic needs. Here, beneficiaries of euthanasia often include the terminally ill and those who are in a persistent vegetative state. The second claim is that helping someone to improve his position is always morally permissible. The question that is asked is how this can be considered an act of unfair or wrong one. This argument has serious flaws, especially when it is used to justify the conventional solution. It remains to ask if it really improves the situation of all the patients, and even if so, whether the killing is the only alternative to inaction. First, it is unclear how terminally ill (as such, regardless of any other features of their position) and those who are in a vegetative state benefit from his early death. Second, one can ask whether the disgust that is expressed by many, from dependence on others in the last years of his life, is based on the consciousness of self-esteem, not the false pride. Third, there are always other ways to reduce the pain.

There is no contradiction between good suffering of crippled or terminally ill and the common good. There is no action on their part on the basis of which their deaths should, or even can, be declared a payback for something. Argument in defense of the right to mortify those who want to be put to death does not depend on the exclusion for life and the right to leave it or lose it. This difference is also in relation to other goods.

Second Argument against Euthanasia

Advocates of euthanasia often insist that this issue can be dealt with from a different point of view. Defense in support of euthanasia suggests that constant suffering is very bad. However, death by its nature is also evil. St. Thomas Aquinas correctly identified kindness as the fullness of being. Compassion to man is the possession of the totality of human power of the mind and emotions. If the death of the innocent and the constant pain are bad, then the choice (and desire for) one of them means to strive for the bad. Choosing death as opposed to merely with futility of further prolonging life and allowing death to come, one is making a mistake (Kuhse and Singer 381-384). Any act of euthanasia, as the choice of death, falls under the ban. One can cite three objections in favor of euthanasia and against its prohibition. First, since the pain is associated with the continuation of life, the doctor is no evil while refusing to implement voluntary euthanasia than doing it. Refusal to resort to euthanasia means a decision to endure pain, but it is not a choice to make a patient feel more pain. This is an act of resistance. However, it highlights the deep disparity between the choice of euthanasia and the choice of patience, which is behind the approach of “lesser of two evils”.

Second, killing is the major evil, and a person by its nature cannot choose to do it. This, of course, is not just a question of euthanasia but the question of the basic principles of the theory of duty. It should be judged only by their deeds, according to which they are either bad or good. Most of the actions that are considered to be inside evil-killing an innocent person, some other’s theft of property, and the like are actions with clearly bad consequences. However, one cannot forget the profound difference between the two theories. Scope of this report does not allow considering the arguments inside refutation of consequentialism.

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Euthanasia is always a moral evil. For others, it may be not. There are doubts that are based, for example, on uncertainty about the moral principles that are used in this report.

Conclusion

Thus, euthanasia should not be allowed under any circumstances due to the following reasons:

  1. The killing of a person is always a moral evil.
  2. There is a psychological barrier against the killing. Ethical reasoning murder punches a hole in the principle of humanism, which is equivalent to its negation. Thus, the legalization of euthanasia would undermine the moral foundations of society in relation to the murder.
  3. Euthanasia is the process when between two evils, one chooses the lesser. However, it is doubted whether the death of a man is more evil than his suffering.
  4. It is unclear how the terminally ill and those who are in a vegetative state benefit from early death. Every year, new advances in medicine can cure diseases that have two or three years earlier condemned people to certain death.
  5. There are other ways of reducing the pain. It is the power of physicians to relieve pain with very strong pain medications, up to drugs. As long as every effort is put, the issue of euthanasia should not arise. Euthanasia cannot be considered as an alternative treatment. In any case, this is an extreme measure.
  6. Sometimes it is impossible to make a definitive diagnosis of the patient, and there may be errors in diagnosis and prognosis.
  7. There are situation when a person learns that his/her illness is terminal. In the process of waiting for death, the patient may be in a state of severe clinical depression, when the desire to die is not based on an informed and well-considered decision, but on temporary emotional experiences, perhaps despair.
  8. Euthanasia will lead to the criminalization of medicine and loss of public confidence in the institution of public health.
  9. It may cause the risk of moral degradation of the doctor who decides to kill his patient.
  10. After the legalization of the practice, euthanasia may create too much abuse on the part of physicians and the persons who are concerned to it.
  11. It is difficult to establish procedures that would protect people from forced consent to euthanasia. It is no secret that many people want to dispose of their elderly or sick relatives and apply all possible methods of pressure to secure their agreement to this. In this connection, the problem is the issue of consent to euthanasia patients who are in a permanent coma.
  12. Legalization of euthanasia is only legal in the state where there is a real social protection and respect of the rights. Otherwise, it will be put in jeopardy of the most vulnerable sectors of society (the elderly, the poor, the disabled).

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