Euthanasia Debate

The topic of Euthanasia has sparked numerous debates in the recent years, as many continue to consider that the procedure is wrong and that it should not be supported by the authorities. Euthanasia has become a notable solution to people who are in extreme pain and who are reluctant to continue to live as long as their situation is critical and as long as it is unlikely for their health condition to improve. It is particularly worrying that a series of individuals cannot be euthanized as a result of the laws that govern the state they live in, especially when the process is recognized to put an end to the suffering that the respective individuals experience.

Pain and stress removal are two of the priorities of most doctors, even when the process through which pain and stress are eliminated has severe side effects. People are known to use medicine that harms their health condition when they know that the substances they consume will relieve them of their pain. Society is normally managed so that people ultimately benefit from all the processes that take place in it, even when one or several of these processes are detrimental in a certain way.

When considering rights, the right to autonomy is particularly important in discussing euthanasia, as it emphasizes the fact that people have the right to make personal decisions regarding their own lives. Surely, in a society that holds morality as one of its most treasured value, it would be wrong to support an individual who has no reason for wanting to die in committing suicide. However, most of the individuals who dealt with the subject of euthanasia were actually in a critical stage and there was practically no other way to ameliorate their pain. Moreover, many have died in terrible pain because they were denied permission to be euthanized. Everyone with a painful and incurable disease should be presented with the right to choose whether or not he or she wants to suffer extreme pain until they experience a natural death. It is absurd to claim that individuals undergoing extreme pain should be forced to do so until their last breath and until they yield to the maladies that consumes their resources. In spite of the ease with which some people might regard this topic, it is very difficult for the authorities to take a stand in this situation. Euthanasia has become a very complex and pressing matter in the recent years, as diverging opinions are more and more elaborate. It truly has to be hard to refuse a terminally-ill patient who goes through great pains the right to take his or her own life. Even with that, authorities who actually do this motivate their approach through relating to morality and to traditions. The reality is that a person is virtually going through hell and that it is very likely for him or her to suffer like this for the next three years, until the projected moment of his or her death. Society certainly needs to do something about this before even more people are obliged to suffer.

Judeo-Christian tradition generally promotes the belief that life is sacred and that it is not up to humans to decide when to take one's life. In contrast, recent moral thought and science as a whole have reached the conclusion that there are certain exceptions when an individual's life can be taken away. Some extremists actually think that it is perfectly normal for underprivileged people to be euthanized on account on their suffering. The Holocaust is a perfect example of the wrongness of euthanasia when the factors involved are not in accordance with the ethical requirements that would allow the procedure to take place. Many people in the contemporary society accept the fact that euthanasia can be considered to be performed out of mercy for the person suffering. People gradually came to accept the concept that it would be better for suffering individuals to benefit from an easy death instead of struggling hopelessly and experiencing great pains. Although euthanasia movements have had notable progress throughout the twentieth century, matters reached a stalemate toward the end of the century, as it became obvious that it would be extremely difficult and practically impossible to change the majority's opinion regarding euthanasia. "As Derek Humphry conceded in 2001, the struggle for legalized euthanasia in America is "going to be a very long battle. This is still a religious country." 2 While much had changed since the days of Charles Potter, much had remained the same" (Dowbiggin 164).

There are presently thousands of individuals who are in a vegetative state and some of them have been in this situation for years. The case of Nancy Cruzan is one of the most debated in the history of euthanasia, as the woman had stayed in a vegetative state for seven years. Her parents went through great efforts to have the Missouri Supreme Court grant them the chance to end their daughter's life as a result of the fact that she had little to no chances to ever recover from her condition. Her parents mainly encountered difficulties in receiving acceptance from the authorities because those opposing euthanasia claimed that it was not clear what the patient's actual intentions were as long as she could not express herself (Dowbiggin 164). Non-voluntary euthanasia continues to be one of the most important impediments in accepting the process, with people supporting the procedure as long as they know that it only takes place when a capable patient explicitly requires a deadly dose of medication on the grounds that his or her suffering is too great and when his or her health condition is likely to worsen or remain the same in the near future (Allen et al.). Passive euthanasia is also debated for the fact that it does not guarantee the conventional benefits of euthanasia (a rapid and painless death), considering that doctors do not know for sure if patients who are in a vegetative state have sensations and are thus unable to tell whether or not these people actually go through extreme pain during the last moments of their lives (Rayner 31).

Time has apparently played a major role in shaping the opinions that Americans have concerning euthanasia. Whereas people in the country initially felt discomfort when discussing the matter, a series of events happening over the years influenced them in accepting and promoting the procedure. "Although public opinion regarding end-of-life decisions appears to have been influenced by the events of the times, Americans have consistently favored the freedom to end one's life when the perceived quality of life has significantly diminished, either by one's own hand or with the assistance of a physician" (Allen et al.). In contrast to how the public feels, however, euthanasia policies are harsh and the authorities are known for expressing disapproval in regard to the issue (Allen et al.).

Age is influential when discussing euthanasia, with older individuals being inclined to support the procedure as a result of being familiar with the suffering and pain one can experience at certain moments in his or her life. The reason for which this happens is that even the most passionate pro-life individuals are probable to consider euthanasia as a means to end pain when they near the end of their lives and watch their friends and even themselves as they suffer because of various maladies that appear along with age. It is natural for some young people to be against euthanasia because they know little to nothing about great suffering and about how one feels when he or she knows that his or her life expectancy is limited to a few years. A terminally-ill patient who knows that he or she will continue to suffer for the next years until his or her death is likely to acknowledge that death is the only viable solution. The masses have traditionally grown accustomed to be against euthanasia and one of the most common justifications they provide in regard to the topic is that suffering is normal and one should not try to remove it when there is no alternative other than prolonged pain (Neuhaus 65).

Among euthanasia's most ardent oppressors are "the disabled people, who -- eloquently and passionately -- argued that a society which legalizes the killing of sick people, even if it is supposed to be limited to those who actively request it, sends a dangerous message to its members: the lives of those who are sick, in pain, limited in their ability to operate in a self-sufficient manner, are worthless" (Rayner 31). This group is however less capable to understand the situation from an impartial position and they tend to associate their health condition with that of people who are terminally ill and whose pains are practically impossible to describe. Euthanasia cases need to be treated individually, not as a whole.

Euthanasia is ultimately controversial because most people prefer to ignore the topic because of the morbidity they…