Euthanasia - Contemporary Moral Issue What are some of your arguments for or against?I need help with an ethics short paper. Hoping someone could help me as this is the first time I am taking this...

Euthanasia - Contemporary Moral Issue What are some of your arguments for or against?

I need help with an ethics short paper. Hoping someone could help me as this is the first time I am taking this class.  Thanks so much.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post did a very stellar job of laying out the issue at hand.  I would like to add one more thought that could help illuminate your point of view and your argument on the topic.  The larger question that seems to exist in the contemporary setting is whether or not government has the right to tell a citizen that they must live or die.  Consider this:  Laws against euthanasia invariably are legal statements that suggest that an individual of sound mind in a particular condition cannot end their own life.  Morally and politically, a question that arises is whether or not government has the right to intervene in such a setting.  It seems to me that, like abortion or the death penalty, the contemporary issue of euthanasia is one where individuals' beliefs reveal a great deal about their perception or understanding of government as an institution.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I understand euthanasia to be ending the life of a person whether or not the person has requested the termination of life support. Euthanasia differs substantially from assisted suicide because in suicide the person dying has made the decision himself. For this reason, the lack of choice, I am strongly opposed to euthanasia in the form of affirmatively taking action to end a human life.

Withholding food and water, while administering palliative medications, in my opinion, is not the same as administering a drug that will hasten death. I am not opposed to withholding food and water in cases where there is no hope of recovery and the person's family has made this decision. I do believe that a person should not be starved to death in this manner without receiving sedative drugs so that pain and discomfort is eliminated.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Assuming that we are not talking about assisted suicide I would have to agree with drmonica. I do think that it is immoral to withhold food/water from a dying patient without giving them sedatives to alleviate any discomfort.

I would like to add that it is incredibly for an individual to make a decision regarding taking a loved one off of life support, even if it is for certain that they are going to die. This can cause severe psychological trauma for years to come.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Some people are in so much pain that they do not want to live. In this case, they might want to end their lives in a painless way. This often happens when a person is terminally ill and there is no treatment. Health professionals, friends or family members might decide that they want to help end the person's life for humane reasons. On the other hand, some people feel that suicide or killing is immoral no matter the circumstances.
krishna-agrawala | Student

I would agree 100 percent with mrsmonica assuming her definition of euthanasia is correct. There can be no moral or legal justification for killing an innocent and helpless person against his or her wishes.

But to set the record straight, i must state that as per commonly understood and dictionary meaning of the word, euthanasia is never against wishes of the person whose life is being terminated. The word it self has been formed from two Greek words meaning good and death.

It is worthwhile noting that in USA, as per a Supreme Court ruling in 1990, euthanasia is legal when patients have clearly made their wishes known. There is a provision of legal document called living will in which individuals can state the kind of care they would prefer. This document is to be used when the individual is not able to express his or her wishes due to injury or disease.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Before I give any arguments for or against euthanasia, I would like to clarify exactly what I understand by euthanasia. It is terminating life of a terminally ill person, at the request of that person. Further, the person should be in such pain that, it is not possible to bear it without medication. Aiding a person in committing suicide because that person is very unhappy or worried, but otherwise in good health is more like abetting suicide rather than euthanasia.

Arguments against euthanasia

  • The difficulty in deciding when an illness is really a terminal illness, and when a pain is really unbearable.
  • Committing or permitting euthanasia can lead to psychological devaluation of human life in general, rather than just the life of terminally ill people.
  • Euthanasia can be misused. It may not always easy to established if a person whose life has been so terminated really wanted to die.

Arguments for euthanasia

  • It relieves individuals from extreme suffering.
  • Frequently people are alive by artificial means though the patient may be totally bed ridden and unable to either enjoy life for himself or make any useful contribution in life of others. Only people who benefit from such artificial extension of meaningless life are the doctors and hospitals. Euthanasia by way of withdrawing all artificial life support systems is more dignified way of living and dying.