Euthanasia

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Euthanasia - Response to Anti Euthanasia Essay Euthanasia is a topic that provokes as much controversy as capital punishment, primarily because it is irreversible. The question of euthanasia being right or wrong is one that most would prefer left alone. However, recent publicity on changes to existing laws has ignited considerable discussion and has forced open the door to a much wider audience. The issues related to direct euthanasia have raised many questions in my mind, to which I am still searching for answers. I believe it is necessary to consider arguments, both, for and against, in order to come to any conclusion. In this paper I will address Brian Clowes' article in the "Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia", located on the World Wide Web, that attempts to provoke a response from the reader and clearly establishes six reasons on which he concludes euthanasia is wrong. I will deal with each reason in turn. In developing countries death remains very much a part of life. From a young age these people are well acquainted with the certainty of death. However, for members of western society, death is an issue that most prefer be left behind the closed doors of a hospital. To a large proportion of our society the topic of death and dying is best left unspoken, many find it uncomfortable and disturbing. This fear of a 'thing' we have little control over is very much apart of our society, and is manifest in the writings of the article "Why is Euthanasia Wrong". The writer of "Why is Euthanasia Wrong", a self confessed pro life activist, has entered the public arena in an attempt to persuade his readers to a point of view that not only shows little understanding of the topic but indicates an obvious malice towards health professionals and the difficult job they face. For Clowes to imply that a health professional's primary concern is the conservation of medical resources and cost containment, as opposed to the betterment of human life, is a gross inaccuracy and insulting to those dedicated to the ethos "the betterment of human life" upon which health care was built. EUTHANASIA IS IRREVERSIBLE The writer starts by clearly defining the differences between direct and passive euthanasia and natural death, terminology that is essential to understanding the issue at hand. However, once established by the writer, these concepts se... ... middle of paper ... ...at is difficult to judge or prove as either true or false. CONCLUSION The topic of euthanasia is complex; a Pandora's box of doubts and unanswered questions. I do not claim to hold the answers to the difficult questions euthanasia raises, nor do I claim to be a pro euthanasia lobbyist. However, I believe it is an issue that society needs to address and confront. The question is, do we go that one step further and legalize acts of direct euthanasia? It is a question to which I am yet to find a satisfactory answer, however I believe it is an issue that needs to be shared by more than the health profession. Johnstone (1994:355) argues "the question society needs to answer is not: is euthanasia morally permissible (it has tacitly conceded that it is), but which type of euthanasia is permissible, and under what conditions?" The power to terminate life, at present, solely rests in the hands of the medical profession and is not exempt from misuse or abuse. The law needs to confront the matter of euthanasia, as safeguards are essential and assist to diffuse or dissipate the power already firmly held and practiced by the medical profession. (Johnstone, 1994:354)

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