Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

“Euthanasia is a deliberate act that causes death undertaken by one person with the primary intention of ending the life of another person, in order to relieve that persons suffering”. The history of euthanasia starts from Ancient Greek, physicians used to perform frequent abortions, voluntary and involuntary mercy killings. People supported voluntary death and physicians often gave their patients the poisons on their request. The ancients supported the voluntary killing, if it was done for the right reasons.

Jewish and Christian thinkers opposed suicide as contradictory with the good of mankind and the responsibilities to God. For almost 700 years or even more than that, the American common law practices punished the people who assisted others in suicide. It must be recognized from the outset that the debate about active voluntary euthanasia is in many respects indeterminable and intractable. Euthanasia is a controversial subject which inevitably provokes intense emotional debate and gives rise to strong convictions which do not readily lend themselves to consensus.

Where such conflicts of values exist, with seemingly little middle ground, it is unlikely that a resolution can be reached which will meet with universal approval. Indeed, in a society with a plurality of widely differing moral views and convictions, one cannot expect unanimity on this issue. 2“For centuries, euthanasia had normally been understood to mean the process whereby the relief of pain for the dying was the best way to ensure an easy death.

However, that changed in the late nineteenth century when euthanasia acquired its modern connotation. For the first time in history, people began defining it as actual mercy killing”. There are many people who talk in favor of Euthanasia because they think that euthanasia is not a crime it can be made legal if society and people want it to be. There have, over the years, been many proponents of active euthanasia, who have campaigned for its legalization including eminent figures such as Williams and Fletcher.

Whilst all euthanasia proponents are in favor of the legalization of active euthanasia, a difference of opinion exists as to whether it should be strictly limited to voluntary euthanasia, or whether, in some circumstances non-voluntary (as distinct from involuntary) euthanasia should also be permitted. The main argument in support of the legalization of active voluntary euthanasia is based on the principle of autonomy or the right to self-determination. According to this principle, each person has value and is worthy of respect, is the bearer of basic rights and freedoms, and is the final determinant of his or her destiny.

Proponents argue that an individual, who has decision-making capacity, has the right to control his or her own body and should be able to determine how and when he or she will die as long as this does not interfere with the rights of others. It is this human self-determination, the capacity of individuals to choose and pursue their particular life-plan, which is said to give persons their special moral status and is an essential component of the dignity that attaches to rational personhood. Euthanasia is the most discussed topic in medical ethics and is widely contradicted.

Calling for the legalization of euthanasia could be a way of symbolically taming and civilizing death. In Australia after a long debate “voluntary euthanasia” is legalized. But this legalization is seen as unethical and people who do not support euthanasia say that it is a permission to doctors to kill patients whenever they want. Some of the thinkers and writers propose that euthanasia and assisted suicide are not the bad things to practice. They think this act can be practiced to reduce the pain of a patient on life supporting machines.

2. “Euthanasia is one means of stopping the apparently unstoppable”. One of the famous cases of Euthanasia is the case of Terri Shiavo, Terri Schiavo had been brain damaged since 1990 when, aged 26, her heart stopped beating temporarily and oxygen was cut off to her brain. In 1998, her husband Michael Schiavo filed a petition to have her feeding tube removed, after a long court battle between Terri’s parent and husband court ordered to remove the feeding tube of Terri and on March 31st she died 13 days after her tube was removed.

3“Some scholars in the field of religious studies, such as Paul Nathanson, put forward an interesting case for the vitality of secular religion the result favors a pro-euthanasia position, because a loss of the sacred fosters the idea that worn out people may be equated with worn out products; both can Then be seen primarily as disposal problems”. Conclusion: What ever can be said or heard, a human mind can’t accept the fact that someone should be killed even when on a life supporting machine. It is like playing with God and its creation that we kill God’s creation on death bed.

A human is in fact a human he can feel pain even when on a life support machine. References 1. Somerville, Margaret A. (2002). Death Talk: The Case against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Montreal, PQ, CAN: McGill-Queen’s University Press, p106. http://site. ebrary. com/lib/staffordshire/Doc? id=10132754;ppg=126 2. Engelhard, H. Tristram (2000), Philosophy of Medicine: Framing the Field. Hingham, MA, USA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, p85. 3 Somerville, Margaret A. (2002), Death Talk: The Case against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Montreal, PQ, CAN: McGill-Queen’s University Press, p113.