Euthanasia entails killing people who have incurable or terminal illnesses, or the act of helping persons die. Euthanasia is a highly divisive social issue, and diverse people hold opposing viewpoints. Many countries outlaw it, while others legalize it (Paterson 5). Euthanasia takes several forms, including voluntary euthanasia based on their free will or involuntarily, where clinicians do it without patient’s consent. Indirect euthanasia entails administering drugs to hasten death, while assisted euthanasia takes place when clinicians provide patients with accessories through which to terminate their lives. Passive euthanasia entails withdrawing essential treatment, while active euthanasia entails administration of medicines that quicken death. There is a strong rationale for governments to oppose the legalization euthanasia, stemming from moral quagmires, sanctity of life, and the pitfalls associated with misuse (Legal Dictionary).
Proponents of euthanasia argue that it impinges on people’s fundamental right to self-determination. They argue that the terminal decision is the ultimate decision people make concerning their lives, and that states should not interfere with individual’s freedom to decide on how they should die. Because religions are an inalienable tenet of human existence, and most religions reject euthanasia, it would be safe to conclude that many people oppose euthanasia (Keown 14). Opponents subsequently argue that euthanasia amounts to usurping divine power, as only God has the jurisdiction to decide on life and death issues. The decision on whether to die or not is moreover permanent and irreversible. It has repercussions for many other societal members, and individuals should not make decisions that have irredeemable consequences on other members of society. Moreover, physical pain or mental anguish impairs an individuals thinking, and can cloud a person’s decision albeit shortly, on the value of life. Accenting to death during such situations does not amount to freedom of self-determination, but subtle coercion on people to accept death. This ultimately eliminates the possibility of healing when alternative cures arise. Consequently, it is imprudent to entrust it on individuals (Rosenthall).
Supporters of the legalization of euthanasia postulate that human life is only useful to the point where people have freedom, reasonably good health and can go about their responsibilities. They claim that people with terminal illnesses pose an unduly heavy burden on society. Such a standpoint not only castigates victims of illnesses, it presumes them as guilty and vindicates them for their predicament. It eliminates the position that human beings enjoy dignity when they become indisposed. The postulation moreover borders on archaic practices furthered during the dark ages, by creating the possibility to excommunicate the sick and the dying justifiably. The postulation moreover poses a moral dilemma, considering the interdependent nature of humanity, and the responsibilities society has for its suffering members. Combined with the existing legal ambiguities, it points to the flimsy grounds that exist for tendencies to kill the innocent (Paterson 51). Euthanasia removes the chance that people with serious sicknesses have of recovering given the proper care and medication. Proponents also argue that death is a better option to persistently undergoing debilitating pain. The argument however overlooks the possible treatment options and the ability to offer patients multiple therapies to ease pain as they continue to full recovery. All human beings have the unfettered right to live to their fullness and to die at the natural end of their lives. Any attempt to shorten people’s lives amounts to denying them their fundamental right to full self-expression (Gunning).
Proponents of euthanasia posit that many people already practice it undercover and that subsequent