We take a look at the arguments for and against Euthanasia

My point of view is that I have the right to end my life, not a doctor, not my husband not anyone else. I don’t think the power to end my life should be handed over to anyone but myself. It is my responsibility. If I was dying I would make arrangements before I became too incapacitated so that I could end my life without involving anyone else when I was ready. I feel that once we hand over responsibility to others we open up a nasty can of worms that will lead to people being pressured to kill themselves and killed because they are a burden. I also do not think it is fair to ask someone you love to kill you as they have to live with that for the rest of their life.

I also object to asking doctors to do it as they are sworn to save lives not end them. The glaring exception of course to their hippocratic oath is abortion.I would hate to add euthanasia as well as it would make a mockery of the line in the oath which reads ‘ Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.’

Arguments FOR:

A separate right to die is not necessary, because our other human rights imply the right to die

Death is a private matter and if there is no harm to others, the state and other people have no right to interfere (a libertarian argument)

It is possible to regulate euthanasia

Euthanasia happens anyway (a utilitarian or consequentialist argument)

The right to life includes the right to die

The right to life is not a right simply to exist

The right to life is a right to life with a minimum quality and value

Death is the opposite of life, but the process of dying is part of life

Dying is one of the most important events in human life

Dying can be good or bad

People have the right to try and make the events in their lives as good as possible

So they have the right to try to make their dying as good as possible

If the dying process is unpleasant, people should have the right to shorten it, and thus reduce the unpleasantness

The right to life gives a person the right not to be killed if they don’t want to be.Those in favour of euthanasia will argue that respect for this right not to be killed is sufficient to protect against misuse of euthanasia, as any doctor who kills a patient who doesn’t want to die has violated that person’s rights.English law already acknowledges that people have the right to die. This argument is based on the fact that the Suicide Act (1961) made it legal for people to take their own lives.

In some cases, euthanasia promotes the best interests of everyone involved and violates no one’s rights

It is therefore morally acceptable

Euthanasia happens – better to make it legal and regulate it properly. Sounds a bit like “murder happens – better to make it legal and regulate it properly”.When you put it like that, the argument sounds very feeble indeed.

Arguments AGAINST:

Those in favour of euthanasia think that there is no reason why euthanasia can’t be controlled by proper regulation, but they acknowledge that some problems will remain. For example, it will be difficult to deal with people who want to implement euthanasia for selfish reasons or pressurise vulnerable patients into dying.

Religious opponents disagree because they believe that the right to decide when a person dies belongs to God.

Secular opponents argue that whatever rights we have are limited by our obligations. The decision to die by euthanasia will affect other people – our family and friends, and healthcare professionals – and we must balance the consequences for them (guilt, grief, anger) against our rights.

We should also take account of our obligations to society, and balance our individual right to die against any bad consequences that it might have for the community in general.

These bad consequences might be practical – such as making involuntary euthanasia easier and so putting vulnerable people at risk.

There is also a political and philosophical objection that says that our individual right to autonomy against the state must be balanced against the need to make the sanctity of life an important, intrinsic, abstract value of the state.

People also have obligations – to their friends and family, to their doctors and nurses, to society in general

These obligations limit their rights

These obligations do not outweigh a person’s right to refuse medical treatment that they do not want

But they do prevent a patient having any right to be killed

But even if there is a right to die, that doesn’t mean that doctors have a duty to kill, so no doctor can be forced to help the patient who wants euthanasia.

Allowing euthanasia will greatly increase the risk of people who want to live being killed. The danger of violating the right to life is so great that we should ban euthanasia even if it means violating the right to die.

The Suicide Act doesn’t necessarily acknowledge a right to die;

It could simply acknowledge that you can’t punish someone for succeeding at suicide
and that it’s inappropriate to punish someone so distressed that they want to take their own life.
The purpose of the Suicide Act is not to allow euthanasia as the Act makes it a crime to help someone commit suicide.
There is a moral difference between decriminalising something and encouraging it.

People are sometimes wrong about what’s in their best interests
People may not realise that committing euthanasia may harm other people
Euthanasia may deprive both the person who dies and others of benefits
Euthanasia is not a private act – we cannot ignore any bad effects it may have on society in general

-bbc.co.uk


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