There have been many cases when fears of the future lead to suicides. Finding out about incurable disease that ends up in excruciating pain might be one of those cases. In order to prevent such pain, euthanasia should be legalized. Or should it not? What are some of the hot potatoes?
What is euthanasia?
The term euthanasia originates from a Greek word for ‘good death’. Euthanasia.com defines the term as the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit. For more definitions on euthanasia and its types, please click here.
Euthanasia: the right to die
“Each of us should have the right to die in a humane and dignified manner, if this would prevent us from excruciating pain,” said Steven R. Shapiro, the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The right to die is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” he added. The ACLU is one of the most important fighters for the legalization of euthanasia in the U.S.
Euthanasia: Hippocratic Oath
The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically and honestly.
“The prohibition against killing patients…stands as the first promise of self-restraint sworn to in the Hippocratic Oath, as medicine’s primary taboo: ‘I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect,” emphasizes Leon Kass, the committee on Social though at the University of Chicago.
However, Philip Nitschke, the Director and Founder of Exit International, opposes: “Over time the Hippocratic Oath has been modified on a number of occasions as some of its tenets became less and less acceptable. References to women not studying medicine and doctors not breaking the skin have also been deleted.”
Euthanasia: The Slippery slope effect
As mentioned already many times in the euthanasia debates, the slippery slope arguments claim that legalization of certain practices (e.g. voluntary euthanasia) would lead to acceptance of practices that are currently considered unacceptable (e.g. involuntary euthanasia).
On the contrary, Jan Bernheim, one of Europe’s pioneering palliative care specialists, states: ‘It became clear to me that the law can provide safeguards against slippery-slope effects.’
And what do you think about euthanasia?