Euthanasia is the practice of mercifully ending a person's life in order to free someone from a deadly disease. The Greek word “Euthanasia” simply means “good death”. This refers to the intentional ending of a person or animal’s life to relieve suffering and pain. It is also known as “Mercy Killing”. It is a serious ethical and political issue in today’s society because it goes against the norms of traditional medicine. It is so, because some people define euthanasia as a form of suicide. However, some people actually think that it is a choice that concerns the quality of life. In fact, people have different standards regarding the worth of life. Others believe that being clinically alive is enough to say that a person should live, but for others, it is simply inadequate. If a person’s life is lacking in self awareness or intrinsic presence as a human being, due to extreme physical or mental suffering, then that person should be able to choose a dignified death rather than an undignified existence. This is evident because of moral conscience, social bias or pressure, and financial situations. It is portrayed that nurture or environmental factors plays a role that make euthanasia more appealing. In short, some people tend to disregard the moral and ethical values of life when they see a person suffering. Indeed, despite of the moral and ethical issues that contradict the concept of euthanasia, there are certain factors it impacts society positively, which leads it to be more socially acceptable. One factor that makes euthanasia more acceptable is because of moral conscience. It is argued that euthanasia is not considered as a good practice because it weakens the society’s respect for life. It is believed that all human beings are to be valued despite of their age, gender, sex, religion, social status and their potential for achievement. However, some people who have a different perspective in regards to conscience oppose this idea. Moral conscience urges a person to do well and avoid evil. In this case, the evil that is being measured in this view is prolonging the suffering of a dying person. Also, the act of accepting to end the suffering of a person is a responsibility that is caused by conscience, which does not violate the purity of life. One of the writers from the book Euthanasia, John Shelby Spong, says that conscience really does play a role in making a decision between mercy killing and natural death. He explains that: “In the past, when medical care was rudimentary and death seemed to be entirely in the hands of God, the issue of euthanasia was simpler. Humans had little technology that could prolong life. In modern times, however, science endows doctors with previously unimagined powers to keep a body alive even when that person no longer has any quality of life. I believe that assisting in such a person’s suicide does not violate the sanctity of life. However, to prevent people from being victimized by family members who could profit from death of a relative, safeguards need to be established. These include requiring people to have living wills specifying the extent of treatment they want in the event of a serious accident or illness and requiring hospitals to have a bioethics committee to help decide on issues of euthanasia”. 1 In short, moral conscience helps out a dying person to finish his or her suffering. In contrast, they must take into consideration that they can only perform euthanasia if the person dying agrees to get it done. Through this, people are actually respecting the choice of the dying person since being human also means being respected. Being able to respect a person’s decision, it also builds a relationship between the person dying and the person who is witnessing the suffering. This now creates a social bias between the people around them since people tend to persuade what they think is right. This is another factor that makes euthanasia more acceptable. Social bias or pressure is defined...
References: * Baird, Robert M. and Rosenbaum, Stuart E. Euthanasia: The Moral Issues. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1989.
* Cavan, Seamus. Euthanasia: The Debate Over the Right to Die 1st Edition. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, 2000.
* Dr. Mark MD. Alive and Kicking: A little corner on the views of pro-death. Retrieved June 2013
* Jackson, Linda. Euthanasia. Chicago: Raintree, 2005.
* Medina, Loreta M. Euthanasia. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2005
* Tulloch, Gail. Euthanasia: Choice and Death. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005.
1 John Shelby Spong, Euthanasia, p. 31
2 Seamus Cavan, Euthanasia: The Debate Over the Right to Die, pp. 15-16
3 Dr. Mark MD, Alive and Kicking: A little corner on the views of pro-death, http://drmarkaliveandkicking.blogspot.ca/2012/08/india-poor-requesting-euthanasia-to-end.html
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