Our World is In danger
By Nikhail Mainra
Euthanasia. A word that brings many questions to one’s mind. A word that many people avoid. What is Euthanasia? Why is it illegal? Is it morally right? For some, euthanasia should not be part of one’s life but to other’s it is a way to rid of unbearable pain.
Good morning teachers and fellow students.
Before proceeding further, I need to explain the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide. The definition of euthanasia is the "Deliberate act undertaken by one person with the intention of ending the life of another person in order to relieve that persons suffering." In the same committee hearing, the definition of assisted suicide is the "Act of intentionally killing oneself with the assistance of another who provides the knowledge, means or both."
Although these two definitions may seem very similar there is a very important difference - the definition of assisted suicide does not include a reference on relief of suffering. This, of course is inherent in the term euthanasia, and therein lies the difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia.
In Canada, the most famous of euthanasia cases occurred in 1993. Tracy Latimer, a 12 year old girl suffering from severe cerebral palsy, was killed by her father, Robert Latimer. He placed Tracy in the family truck and piped in exhaust fumes. Mr. Latimer claims that she suffered considerable pain and he told police that his priority was to put her out of her pain.
Although it must have been incredibly difficult for a father to see his daughter suffering in pain, you would have to believe that there are other ways to manage pain apart from death.
Although there are many proponents of euthanasia, I believe that this case exemplifies the reason why euthanasia is wrong. In the last 20 years the management of patients with chronic pain due to any cause has improved significantly. Individuals now have access to a multitude of therapies that can relieve pain and improve quality of life essentially negating the need to take such irreversible measures.
Not only has management of chronic pain improved, similarly there has been an improvement in managing many diseases. In the early 90's contracting HIV was essentially a death sentence. At that time there were 40,000 HIV related deaths worldwide. The prognosis of patients with HIV has improved dramatically over the last 15 years, such that in 2006 there were only 10,000 HIV related deaths with the same number of newly diagnosed cases. Currently patients diagnosed with HIV and many other diseases, are now living normal lives with the hope of potential cure in the future.
There is no one place where the slippery slope argument is more relevant than in euthanasia. Once government begins to define life and humanity there is no end to the possibilities for subjective determination as to who will be allowed to live and who will die. If euthanasia is legalized, it will be open to subjective interpretation of the law. Therefore decisions to euthanize individuals could potentially be based on the cost or effort required to look after these patients.
In conclusion. we are currently in an amazing era of medicine where cures for diseases initially thought of as incurable are being discovered. Can anyone with certainty say that cures for diseases like ALS, multiple sclerosis and certain cancers will not be discovered in our lifetime? If the answer to that is NO, then in my mind there are no legal arguments that support euthanasia.