Euthanasia, Pros and Cons

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Euthanasia has been a controversial topic of discussion in the last decades, since, dealing it, we have to take into account the so-called right to life, which appears in many different declarations of human rights (Right to life, 2010) and which seems, or could seem, inherent to our species. By euthanasia we can understand “the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma” (Oxford dictionaries, 2010). Of course, it may be more complicated than this. A classification of euthanasia (Euthanasia, 2010) could be made by regarding to whether the person involved gives explicit consent, into these different groups: voluntary euthanasia, which is legal in some countries of the EU and in some USA states, non-voluntary euthanasia, related to those people who legally cannot decide to give consent or not (children mainly), and involuntary euthanasia, which is highly regarded as a crime in political terms. Besides, the division may go further if we think of passive or active procedurals. However, the one that leads to special considerations is that of voluntary and active euthanasia. Thus, in this essay I will discuss and analyze some argument supporting a legal status for this “good death”, others viewpoints against it and the space in between.

First of all, it might be easy to find a wide range of arguments that defend this practice for the benefit of the suffering patients. Following the most basis statements of the International Declaration of Human Rights (Eutanasia, 2010), the euthanasia could be seen as an ethical action. How could this be inferred? Human rights are based on the defense of free decisions of citizens; therefore, the people who are suffering from terminal illnesses would have the liberty to choose everything related to their own body and to the way they’d like to live - or not. Furthermore, there is another point that can be argued in favor of it. Why do people have to bear pain of diseases that only lead to the death? Actually, this is one of the most debated arguments about this discussion. It is common knowledge that certain kinds of cancers produce unbearable pain and it is horrible for both patient and family. In that case (Euthanasia, 2010), euthanasia could be a good method to give the patient the peace he or she deserves. Of course, there may be found some complications in these arguments. It would be complicated to decide whether the patient is able to make the decision by himself of if he or she wants to live or not. Depressions are one of the best examples. Therefore, it could be needed special psychologists in order to know the fidelity of the statement of the patient.

There are, besides, many people and institutions which hold arguments against this practice. Most of these arguments, as we are seeing, reside in a religious background or in the before mentioned “right to life”. For instance, the Standing Committee of European Doctors labels euthanasia as unethical: “it is unethical make decisions in order to finish, deliberately, with the life of a patient, although the doctor has permission from the patient or the family” (Consejo General de Colegios Oficiales de Médicos de España, 2008). The Church’s opinion is, mostly, radical against it. (Aciprensa, 2004)The Pope argues that the euthanasia is a fake charity since the person who wants the patient to die should support her or his pain, that is, suffer with the person. He thinks that accepting this so-called “good death” (something that he strongly denies), we are placing the lives of weak people on the hands of the strong, losing the sense of justice. Socially, these two opinions tend to be linked. That is, the visions of the Church are supported with medical arguments such as the use of painkillers or different drugs so that the patient does not suffer from any kind of pain and the family could support him. Moreover, it is argued, generally, that there are numerous cases of people...
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