Today, voluntary euthanasia is getting closer to being legalized in more than just one state in the United States.
Voluntary euthanasia means that the act of putting the person to death is the end result of the persons own free will (Bender 19).Voluntary euthanasia is an area worthy of our serious consideration, since it would allow patients who have exhausted all other reasonable options to choose death rather than continue suffering (Bender 19). The question of whether or not voluntary euthanasia should be legalized is a major debate that has been around for years. Because the issue of whether people should have the right to choose how they want to live or die is so complex. With the advances in technology today we have made it possible to keep a person alive for longer periods of time, even when a person is permanently unconscious or has brain damage. However it seems reasonable to believe that there are many conditions in which voluntary euthanasia should be allowed, and there are many organizations that support the choice of voluntary euthanasia. So why is it that so many do not support the choice of the way a person wants to live or die?There are many common arguments people have against voluntary euthanasia. One argument against voluntary euthanasia is that the old, disabled and incurably ill would feel they should choose voluntary euthanasia so that they were not a burden on others.
(Anonymous Common 1). However there is no real evidence to show that this problem will arise if voluntary euthanasia is legalized. Another argument is there is always a possibility of an incorrect diagnosis or the discovery of a treatment that will permit either survival or recovery (Anonymous Objections 1). This is something that will always be there and we will not be able to completely rule out. As long as voluntary euthanasia is explained in great detail to the person this should not be considered a problem. It is said that with the legalization of voluntary euthanasia it will undermine individual and corporate incentives for creative caring (Anonymous Why 2). People who argue against voluntary euthanasia ask why not make appropriate and effective care and training more widely available, not to give doctors the easy option of euthanasia.
There have been organizations supporting the legalization of voluntary euthanasia in Britain and in the US for years now. They have had some public support but were unable to achieve the goal of legalizing voluntary euthanasia in either nation. In England a society, called The Voluntary Euthanasia Society was founded to make voluntary euthanasia legal for an adult that is suffering. The first group that was formed in the US that was for the legalization of euthanasia was the Hemlock Society. This societies purpose was to support the decision of a person to die and to offer support when a person is ready to die. The only way the society would support a person was if the person believed in euthanasia for a certain amount of time before requesting to die.On May 5, 1998, the Voluntary Euthanasia Research Foundation announced its establishment.
Its purpose is to make available up-to-date information on developments in technology and methods for those seeking voluntary euthanasia (Fox 134).Until recently there was no success in obtaining legal provision. In 1995, the Northern Territory of Australia became the first legislature in the world to pass a law for voluntary euthanasia (Anonymous The Voluntary 5). In Oregon a referendum gave approval for voluntary euthanasia.
The law has two requirements. First, at least two doctors must agree that the patients condition is terminal. Second, the patient must request the drugs three times, the last time in writing. Patients are expected to take the drugs without a doctors assistance (Bloyd 83). The law in Florida on the other hand is that every person deliberately assisting another in the commission of self-murder shall be guilty of manslaughter, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in sections (Humphry 163). Even if a hopelessly ill person is requesting assistance in dying for the most noble of motives, it remains a crime in the Anglo-American world(Torr 18). In the Netherlands, voluntary euthanasia is still a crime, but for over 15 years, Dutch doctors have escaped conviction if they follow strict guidelines laid down by courts and the Royal Dutch Medical Association (Anonymous The Voluntary 1).The debate over legalizing voluntary euthanasia is one that many people have strong opinions on.
Making it legally permissible would reassure many people that if they ever do want euthanasia they would be able to obtain it (Howell 268). The legalization of euthanasia can be thought of as a kind of insurance policy against being forced to endure a protracted dying process that one has come to find burdensome and unwanted, especially when there is no life-sustaining treatment to forgo (Howell 268). There are many conditions where all the medical skills in the world arent enough to cure specific diseases. A person should have the choice to decide when to say enough is enough after undergoing all possible treatment. Unfortunately, even when medical advances and excellent hospice research in palliative care, severe indignity, pain and distress cannot always be controlled (Anonymous 5). There are many conditions that a person would have to obtain before given the opportunity to choose to die.
A person would have to be suffering from a terminal illness that would unlikely benefit from the discovery of a cure for that illness. Also as a direct result of the illness, the patient has to be suffering intolerable pain. Another requirement would be that they are mentally able to make the decision and are not forced into making a decision.Legalizing voluntary euthanasia is all about having a choice. Most people today believe that everyone should be given the right to choose how they live and die. Its not your life, if you cant choose when to let go.
Bibliography:Work CitedAnonymous. Common Arguments Against Voluntary Euthanasia Viewed 1 March2000.