Don't Legalize Euthanasia
Length: 1456 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)
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Don't Legalize Euthanasia
Euthanasia, a term that can be described as "mercy killing" or the ending of a person's life because they no longer have the desire to live. Euthanasia has been a worldwide controversial debate for many years. Two types of euthanasia may be discussed, active and passive. Active described as "killing" and passive as "allowing to die." Is it the physical pain or is it depression that leads a person to desire death? If foreign countries allow, and cannot control their own "mercy killings," why wouldn't the United States follow in their footsteps? These questions and life are too often taken for granted. Euthanasia goes against our morals and duties as human beings. It should not be legalized in the United States, and where it is legal it should be stopped.
Active euthanasia is the more controversial of the two types. Supporters of active euthanasia base their defense on "One, it is cruel and inhumane to refuse the plea of a terminally ill person for his or her life to be mercifully ended in order to avoid future suffering and/or indignity. Two, the individual choice should be respected to the extent that it does not result in harm to others; since no one is harmed by terminally ill patients' undergoing active euthanasia..." (Mappes 57). The common rebuttal to this is, "One, Killing an innocent person is intrinsically wrong. Two, killing is incompatible with the professional responsibilities of the physician. And three, any systematic acceptance of active euthanasia would lead to detrimental social consequences (e.g., via a lessening of respect for human life)" (Mappes 57). Basically, a physician has a clear moral obligation to his/her patients, to cure and comfort. This "obligation" does not entail killing the patient.
"The tragic consequences of physicians assisting their patients with death would have immeasurable and devastating effects..." (National Right to Life Committee). Fighting death and overcoming the odds is how Robert Provan proved doctors wrong.
Bob contracted polio at the age of five; initially, he was paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors told his parents that he would never walk again. Due to impairment of respiration and other problems, they believed that he would not live to the age of twenty-one. He also might have been a perfect candidate for physician-assisted suicide (National Right to Life Committee).
Were the doctors thinking "better dead than disabled?
" That it would be better to kill your son now in return for 20 years of hospital bills just to have him die? It seems as if there was an attempt to put a price on a person's life.
If assisted suicide would become legal in the United States, one of its number one backers would be the insurance companies. Insurance companies are putting prices on people's lives all too often. It seems ironic, insurance companies would jump on the chance to insure someone of a healthy, high stature. What if it was an AIDS patient searching for health insurance? They would much rather insure someone expected to live a long healthy life, compared to a person with a terminal illness.
Assisted suicide is most commonly contemplated by the terminally ill. Terminally ill patients do suffer greatly, but is it the physical pain they suffer from? Many physicians seem to believe it is depression that leads these patients to desire suicide. "USA Today has reported that among older people suffering from terminal illnesses who attempt suicide, the number suffering from depression reaches almost 90%" (Why we Shouldn't Legalize Assisting Suicide). Dr. Jack Kevorkian believes that any person with a disabling disease who doesn't suffer from depression is "abnormal." What is hard for these people to understand who are pro-euthanasia is that depression is treatable and even curable. A person would suffer a lot less physically if they suffered less mentally. Some medical doctors also feel this way.
Suicidologist Dr. David C. Clark notes that depressive episodes in the seriously ill are not less responsive to medication than depression in others. And psychologist Joseph Richman, former President of the American Association of Suicidology, says, Effective psychotherapeutic treatment is possible with the terminally ill, and only irrational prejudices prevent the greater resort to such measures. (Brown 210).
I think depression factors in greatly with the terminally ill patients, some more than others do. Let's take AIDS patients for example. In time, they suffer greatly physically and mentally. Does this constitute their ability to have suicide granted upon request? No, if it were so, millions of people would die, and look how frivolous life would seem if it were legal to have your own life taken.
Physician-assisted suicide in foreign countries has proved to be catastrophic. "In 1990, physicians in the Netherlands were involved in 11,800 deaths, or 9% of all deaths in the country. Of these, half were labeled "active involuntary euthanasia", that is, the patient was killed without his consent" (Ohio Right to Life). For example, "by the late 80's it had become routine to "euthanize" babies born with handicaps, like down's syndrome and spina bifida. Three nurses in Amsterdam killed several comatose patients without any consent. They were convicted, not of homicide, but of failing to consult a physician" (Ohio Right to Life). All of this has occurred in a country where euthanasia is legal. How would it be possible for the United States to keep it under control? "If we can't even control the actions of one doctor -- Jack Kevorkian -- when physician-assisted suicide is illegal, how can we expect to regulate the actions of thousands of doctors where physician-assisted suicide is legal" (Christian Medical & Dental Society). The United States should learn from the mistakes of other nations and think twice about making physician assisted suicide legal.
Kevorkian, or "Dr. Death," has already sent over a hundred people to their graves. Each one did request to die, and each one was living a life of pain. Kevorkian refuses to let life takes its natural course. He continues to do the work of God. God created man and God should be the one to take man away. The following quote accurately depicts Kevorkians mindset, and how thoughtless he really is.
Well, let's take what people think is a dignified death. Christ, was that a dignified death? Do you think it's dignified to hang from wood with nails through your hands and feet bleeding, hang for three or four days slowly dying, with people jabbing spears into your side, and people jeering you? Do you think that's dignified? Not by a long shot. Had Christ died in my van with people around Him who loved Him, the way it was, it would be far more dignified. In my rusty van. (Kevorkian 1)
I'd like to hear Christ's response to the above quote. I personally feel that Kevorkian is crazy and should be stopped. Kevorkian has most recently been convicted of second degree murder and delivery of a controlled substance. This has been the first time in five trials that Kevorkian has been found guilty. The laws we have in our country are designed to "serve and protect." What are we saying for ourselves if we institute a law that allows the killing of innocent people?
Life is taken for granted all too often, people always look for the shortcuts, the easy way out. Death should never be a persons last resort, there will always be an alternative. Humans cannot be compared to animals either. We can't be taken to a veterinarian to be put to sleep. It is immoral and dehumanizing. One of the greatest minds in history that:
Firstly, under the head of necessary duty to oneself: He who contemplates suicide should ask himself whether his action can be consistent with the idea of humanity as an end in itself. If he destroys himself in order to escape from painful circumstances, he uses a person merely as a mean to maintain a tolerable condition up to the end of life. But a man is not a thing, that is to say, something which can be used merely as means, but must in all his actions be always considered as an end in himself. I cannot, therefore, dispose in any way of a man in my own person so as to mutilate him, to damage or kill him. (Abbott)
People rarely take into consideration how precious life is. Feelings of depression and guilt often overwhelm the sick. They only think of one way out. If euthanasia were to be legalized, the already declining morals and ethics of this country would be further compromised. Making it legal to kill is immoral, and goes against our duties in society.