Euthanasia 8 Essay, Research Paper
Euthanasia, meaning easy death, is one of the most acute and uncomfortable contemporary problems in society. The debate concerns one question: is euthanasia ethical? The case rests on one main fundamental moral principle: mercy. Terminally ill patients often request that doctors put them out of their misery. However, because of medicine’s new technological capacities to extend life, the problem has become much more controversial. With effective treatments available, there is no justification for committing suicide. One of society’s traditional attitudes, expressed morally, legally, philosophically, and religiously is that human life merits special protection. Euthanasia is an unconstitutional, unethical, and senseless act to commit.
Most religions strictly forbid any form of suicide. The Christian religion has traditionally taught that life is a gift from God. Thus, only God can start a life, and only God should be allowed to end one. An individual who commits suicide is committing sin. Christianity has traditionally taught that God does not send us any experience that we cannot handle. God supports people in suffering, so to actively seek an end to life would appear to represent a lack of trust in God’s promise. This contrasts with secular arguments that sometimes terminal illness is so painful that it causes life to be an unbearable burden; death represents a relief of intolerable pain for that minority of terminally ill persons who wish to choose it. Neither Muslims, Jews nor Christians find it suggested anywhere in our Holy Scriptures that we may solve the problem of human suffering by eliminating suffering humans. Killing is never caring; it is flight from caring, it is the abandonment of caring. Ultimately it is human rejection of God’s command to us to care for each other, a rejection born of a hopeless mistrust in the caring of God. Euthanasia and suicide constitute an unjustifiable destruction of human life and are not morally permissible. Therefore, we may not intend to terminate an innocent person’s life by deliberate act or omission, even if he or she is incapacitated.
From a medical point of view, euthanasia is irrational. The possibility always exists that a doctor can misdiagnose a patient, or that a new cure is discovered for a formerly incurable disease. Patients could kill themselves needlessly because they think that there are no other options in life. Allowing active euthanasia, or doctor assisted suicide, could eventually lead to abuses. For example, an elderly, disabled family member could be disposed of when he becomes too costly or bothersome. Seemingly justified or not, active euthanasia is the deliberate taking of human life; something no human is qualified to do. Euthanasia radically misshapes the purpose of the medical profession along with corrupting its nature and purpose, namely to foster and protect life, not take it. An often pondered question about euthanasia is whether or not the patient is of sound mental health. A manic depressive, for instance, could convince an inexperienced doctor that there is nothing left for him in the world, and that he wishes to die.
The taking of human life is wrong even in the case of voluntary euthanasia, as it is not mandated by any statement in any law in the United States. Some believe euthanasia, a perceived moral wrong, should be prohibited by the full force of the law. A person commits homicide when, directly or indirectly by any means, he causes the death of a human being. Any doctor who assists a patient in killing himself is committing a criminal offense. Life is not a privilege of the state. To give consent to the law to “euthanize” human life is granting it an ultimacy that it never had before, a license to kill in essence. It allows the state to exercise a right over something that was not the state’s to give in the first place.
Euthanasia is certainly one of society s most controversial contemporary issues. Most religions decree that any form of suicide, voluntary or not, is immoral. Laws in the United States constitution state that when a person assists another in killing, it is considered an act of homicide. Technology is advancing at such a rate that what was considered incurable a year ago has been achieved today. Euthanasia, or any form of suicide, is a waste of a very special God-given gift.