Should euthanasia be legalised?

Essay by c3real August 2006

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Amidst the drastic advances in technology, the issue of personal right and freedom has become highly controversial. People want to ensure control over their own lives, and death. This is where the topic of whether or not euthanasia should be made legal comes in. It is widely believed that patients with terminal illness have only two options, which are either die slowly and painfully or quickly and painlessly, through euthanasia. In fact, there is a middle way, that of creative and compassionate caring. We need to realise that in cases where the patient's physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met, very few resort to euthanasia. Our priority should be on finding means to alleviate their afflictions, not on assisting suicide. History has shown that legalised euthanasia threatens society as a whole. Patients can be coerced and exploited, medical research can be headed the wrong direction, and these are followed by involuntary euthanasia.

Thus euthanasia should not be legalized. I will prove that, looking deeper into the matter, the legalisation of euthanasia has disastrous effects that will deprive every individual of his or her personal rights and freedom.

A person suffering from an acute illness lacks the knowledge of the means and skills to relieve his symptoms. The people who are involved with terminally ill patients acknowledge that they often suffer from anxiety over the effects their illness is having on others, thus causing depression, and a false sense of self-worthlessness. If euthanasia were to be legalized, these patients would readily give consent for fear of burdening their loved ones. They feel obliged to die. Such people whose requests are turned down are most grateful after going through effective symptom relief programmes. They are also able to adapt to their disabilities, which they had previously found impossible to cope with. A...