The Debate on Euthanasia in the United Kingdom


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The Debate on Euthanasia in the United Kingdom

One of the biggest controversies in the UK today is Euthanasia.
Arguments about Euthanasia often hinge on the ‘right to life’ and
‘right to die’, should it be legalised? Originally the word Euthanasia
meant ‘a gentle and easy death’, however nowadays it is ‘the act of
inducing an easy death’. Why the change in meaning and everybody’s new
found view that Euthanasia is in fact murder?

Many people have diverse views on the issue. Humanists live by moral
principles and promote happiness and fulfillment in this life; they
believe that voluntary euthanasia is morally correct, whilst upholding
the need for safeguards to prevent involuntary euthanasia. Other
religious groups such as Christians and Roman Catholics use phrases
like ‘the sanctity of life’ to justify their view that life has
fundamental value and must not be destroyed. They think that there is
a moral distinction between active euthanasia and omissions, which
cause death (passive euthanasia), only passive is ethically
permissible. Different countries have different views on Euthanasia,
for example Australia and Holland have legalised Euthanasia, whereas
Canada and the UK have banned it calling it murder and manslaughter!

People suffering from a painful, incurable diseases sometimes wish to
commit suicide but don’t actually have the physical strength or means
to do so. Sufferers should have the right to choose a painless and
dignified exit, either at the time or beforehand in a ‘living will’. A
living will is a big part in legal aspects of Euthanasia. It can
express a patient’s thoughts towards future medical treatment, it
allows anyone capable of making decisions to tell doctors beforehand
if they do not wish to be put on life support. We choose to do this
for different reasons: religious beliefs or because of pain and
suffering that we would endure. The right circumstances for choosing
to end your life could be immense pain and distress, helplessness or
if you would be subjected to degrading treatment.

Some argue that if we permit voluntary euthanasia, involuntary

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euthanasia will soon follow, this is called ‘the slippery slope’ or
‘the thin end of the wedge’ argument. However, involuntary and
voluntary euthanasia are very different actions and I don’t believe
that this would be the case. Voluntary euthanasia is when the person
who is killed has requested it; involuntary euthanasia is when the
person hasn’t requested to die. Another key idea is the costs
involved. Our hospitals are basically wasting thousands of pounds on
patients who don’t really want to be there! Drugs that are used in
euthanasia only cost around £30 whereas it could cost up to £30 000 to
treat a patient properly just so they can lie there in pain, being fed
through a tube.

People have the right to do as they wish in this life, we are, after
all, born free and equal in dignity and rights and if staying alive
forces us to lose our dignity, it is surely up to ourselves to choose
our course? Even though hospitals have drugs that can help fight the
endless pain, they do only mask it, it’s still there and ready to be
released when the painkillers stop working. Death is inevitable and
will happen at some point in our lives, so why try to stop it? If
people choose to leave this world for whatever reason then surely that
is their right and we should respect it. Although I don’t think it is
right to legalize all forms of euthanasia I do think voluntary
euthanasia is ethically correct and fair, a person should certainly
not be put in jail for helping someone, who is in eternal pain and
misery, to end their life.

So, why is it that the UK is so against euthanasia? Well, it’s simple;
the ‘United’ Kingdom is so wrapped up being united in the old ways we
can’t deal with a bit of change. We kept our currency rather than
changing to euros because of ‘dignity’. But isn’t euthanasia about
dignity? If we kept English Sterling because of dignity then why can’t
we change the euthanasia laws and stop English citizens’ dignity being
crushed by the arms of medicine? Euthanasia is ethically correct, but
not politically correct, since when does politics come into a person’s
life choice? It doesn’t.

In conclusion, euthanasia is the right course in most medical
situations. It allows people the chance to free themselves from the
pain and agony they would otherwise undergo. Therefore I believe
voluntary euthanasia should be legalized in the UK as people are, in
fact, born free and have their own rights. People shouldn’t be forced
to stay alive if it’s not what they want, nevertheless others do not
have the right to take that away from them. Put yourself in a
terminally ill patient’s shoes, what would you choose: life in a
hospital bed, suffering from pain and discomfort being fed through a
drip, barely alive or an easy, peaceful death?


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